Local Government

Memorial Day Weekend River Safety Tips

American, River, Nature, Water
American, River, Nature, Water

Memorial Day is almost here, and with that marks the beginning of the summer recreation season. Sacramento County’s Department of Regional Parks would like to remind visitors about safe ways to enjoy the parks and rivers.

Be Safe in the Water:Life Looks Good On You—and so does a life vest! Before you dive in, put on a life vest. There are borrowing stations along Sacramento’s waterways and at local fire stations. Remember, even the strongest swimmer can be pulled under by the strong river currents.
Kids Don’t Float—but life vests do. Make sure your child wears a life vest. Sacramento County ordinance requires any child under 13 to wear a life vest before accessing any public waters (Sacramento County Ordinance 13.08.301). Bring a life vest to the river for each of your children.
Rivers are running especially fast and cold this weekend. Sacramento County recommends that people of all ages and abilities use caution when swimming or boating. Visit the Sacramento County’s Department of Regional Parks water safety webpage for more tips.

Alcohol Prohibited for the Holiday Weekend:Beginning Saturday, May 25 through Monday, May 27, possession of alcohol is prohibited on the shore and river of the American River within Sacramento County Regional Parks’ jurisdiction. The prohibition includes open or closed alcoholic beverages.
County Rangers will also continue to enforce the year-round alcohol restrictions from Paradise Beach to Discovery Park.

Prevent Wildfires:All fireworks are prohibited in Regional Parks. Smoking is only allowed in developed picnic areas, asphalt surfaces, golf courses and on levee tops in the American River Parkway. Open flame fires are not allowed, and barbequing is only permitted in designated picnic areas.

Stay Healthy: The water we swim in is rarely germ-free. Even when a lake or river looks clear, bacteria and microorganisms can still be present. 

Protect your health with a few steps to keep germs out of the water and off you: 

  • Keep it clean – stay out of the water if you feel ill; shower before you get in; have everyone get out to take bathroom breaks every hour; and don’t swallow the water.

Healthy swimming habits for anyone enjoying lakes, rivers and waterways:

  • Do not drink recreational water or use the water for cooking.  
  • Do not enter the water if you have cuts or open sores, as these are pathways for bacteria to enter your body.
  • Avoid algae blooms (brightly colored water) and trash in the water.
  • Wash your hands or shower after swimming.
  • Pay attention and follow any warning signs and postings. Do not access a water body if posted warnings indicate it is not safe to do so. 
  • Contact your healthcare provider if you have concerns regarding your health after swimming in recreational waters. 

Check out the Sacramento County Regional Parks Healthy Swimming Status web page for more information.

Parking Fee Increase:The number of visits to Regional Parks increases dramatically during holiday weekends, which increases the cost to staff and maintain the parks. In order to offset these costs and provide maximum staffing and enforcement, the vehicle entrance fee will increase to $8 for single vehicles and $13 for oversized vehicles and vehicles towing watercraft. These increases will not affect annual pass holders. Visitors who regularly enjoy County Parks are encouraged to purchase an Annual Parks Pass, not only to save money but to help keep our parks safe and clean.
Visit the Sacramento County Regional Parks website for more information. Call 3-1-1 to report non-emergency or maintenance issues.



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