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‘I’ll Do It’: Restricted, dangerous waters Rafting on the wild Mokelumne River

News-Sentinel reporter and photographer cleared for run on river with expert guides

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Posted: Friday, July 1, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 10:54 am, Sat Sep 17, 2011.

Before we even reached the gate of Stillman Magee Park on the Mokelumne River, a sheriff's deputy with a hard stare was trying to get us to leave.

"No one is going on the river," the deputy said behind a pair of silver sunglasses and through a bristly mustache. "You may as well turn around and go back."

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9 comments:

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 6:41 pm on Mon, Jul 4, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Bill stated...I guess I draw the line when someone does something stupid like take a pool toy down a fast, cold river with out a life vest when the danger signs have been posted and free life vests are available to the public.

    I wish your line were the line drawn. We then could get rid of many rules and regs... so... if we enact an amendment to all mandates...unless a persons activities endangers the life of others, no mandates will be binding.
    Bill... I really like the line you drew. I will stop wearing my seatbelt and if stopped by a policeman, will refer my behavior to your post...

     
  • Bill Ferrero posted at 5:35 pm on Mon, Jul 4, 2011.

    Bill Ferreo Posts: 2

    I'm all for less rules and less government. I guess I draw the line when someone does something stupid like take a pool toy down a fast, cold river with out a life vest when the danger signs have been posted and free life vests are available to the public. Then when they get in trouble, someone has to risk their life to save that person who made stupid choices. Do this 23 times in less than a week (actual water rescues on the Moke in 2011) then it's time to enforce the rules to prevent the bad decision makers from endangering themselves and those whose job it is to save them. Just another example of the "bad apple" syndrome.

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 4:41 pm on Sun, Jul 3, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Bill stated...As for the post about regulators, rules, and the right to do be stupid or do stupid things. I've rescued a couple of people who had that philosophy. Funny how their perspective and their attitude changed after they survived.

    Bill,of course people would appreciate being rescued if the actions they took led to danger for themselves.
    Are you suggesting that this appreciation is justification for government making laws, regulations and rules that takes our freedom to choose away.. So where do you draw the line? I’m sure if someone gets cancer from smoking cigarettes, they would appreciate being rescued by a doctor... should that mean government should make cigarettes illegal? I think people should have the freedom to do stupid things.... then take responsibility for their actions. Government can make us awhere of the risks, just like RX companies do in their commercials, but please fire the nanny.

     
  • Bill Ferrero posted at 3:54 pm on Sun, Jul 3, 2011.

    Bill Ferreo Posts: 2

    Jordan, you and Dan did a great job on the story, photos, and video. I think the information got to a lot of people and the press brought in a lot of focus such as closing more parks. In addition, The "Kid's Don't Float" life vest comittee is meeting with the SJ County Sheriff and other entities to discuss future criteria for public safety and closing the river.

    As for the post about regulators, rules, and the right to do be stupid or do stupid things. I've rescued a couple of people who had that philospophy. Funny how their perspective and their attitude changed after they survived.

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 3:51 pm on Sat, Jul 2, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Geoff Spinner posted at 8:34 am... It's too bad that a select few imbeciles who get sloppy drunk and float the river can ruin it for the responsible kayakers out there.

    I have another take... it is not the sloppy drunks that ruin it for others... it is the nanny mentality of regulators that ruin “it” for everyone. If someone wants to participate in dangerous activity or be stupid and do stupid things, like not wearing set belts or helmets... or going down a dangerous river, that is their business... we live in a country that makes regulations and rules with intent to save us from ourselves...personality I resent the hell out of that attitude. . A warning sign highlighting the dangers of going in the river is sufficient.. As Stossel would say.. give me a break!

     
  • Doug Chaney posted at 11:00 am on Sat, Jul 2, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    These are the experts that disregard the hazards and proper equipment who think it'll never happen to those well experienced river rafters, canoeists, kayakers and even swimmers/waders. Just like the two well experienced, certified divers who drowned in the water filled mining shaft in the foothills just recently.Experienced professionalls know what proper safety equipment to use and when to avoid the rapidly flowing waters filled with unseen obstacles that puncture craft and snag the unsuspecting on trees, branches and other unseen objects below the water visibility line to send them to their graves.

     
  • Katherine Evatt posted at 8:23 am on Sat, Jul 2, 2011.

    Katherine Evatt Posts: 2

    Glad the group had a safe trip, but the EBMUD biologist was on the only person visible in your photos who had on the right kind of personal flotation device for a cold, rushing river. You need a PFD that will keep your upper body and head as high as possible, and those little fishing PFDs don't cut it. Also, wearing cotton on rivers when the water is so cold increases the risk of hypothermia if you fall in the water. Cotton stays wet and keeps you cold even after you're back in the boat.

     
  • Doug Chaney posted at 9:44 am on Fri, Jul 1, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    Geoff, you are partially right but you have to include the factors that a much more larger amount of water is being released from the dams and the currents are very swift and unpredictable. Adding to that, the fact that there are many obstacles not only along the riverbed but in the river itself, especially trees large enough to snag a body or raft and cause a drowning. And adding to the problem, many of these rafts are not approved for rafting in waters with sharp rock and tree hazards that could easily puncture these flimsy rafts. And then there are always those who feel safe who do not wear a life preserver and could be easily pulled under in the swift currents and unseen undertows that are perilous.

     
  • Geoff Spinner posted at 8:34 am on Fri, Jul 1, 2011.

    Geoff Spinner Posts: 1

    It's too bad that a select few imbeciles who get sloppy drunk and float the river can ruin it for the responsible kayakers out there.

     
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