BLM warns of dangers posed by California rivers

The Bureau of Land Management is asking people to stay out of the California rivers
The Bureau of Land Management is asking people to stay out of the California rivers(MGN)
Published: May. 22, 2023 at 11:47 AM PDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CALIFORNIA (KOLO) - The Bureau of Land Management is urging people to recreate responsibly on California’s river and recreation sites.

According to, water-related accidents are among the most common cause of death in parks, forests and waterways. In Nevada, fire crews have had to rescue people from the Truckee River twice this month.

On May 13, a man had to be rescued by fire crews after he was found in the Truckee River. Just three days later, a boat with nine people capsized on the river, leaving a juvenile stuck in an eddy.

“Visitor safety is always BLM’s priority,” said BLM California State Director Karen Mouritsen. “We welcome all visitors to recreate responsibly on your public lands.”

The BLM warns that streams, especially those on the east and west side of the Sierra Nevada, may be above flood stage as temperatures rise. This leaves the water running colder, higher, and faster than it has in recent years.

The cold water can cause hypothermia and can cause the body to cramp quickly. Releases can also cause issues.

“Releases can quickly raise water levels and flow rates, catching swimmers off guard,” said Redding Field Manager Jennifer Mata, also reminding the public that planned releases are often posted on kiosks.

“The Kern River has many hidden obstacles beneath the water surface, which creates very powerful currents that can easily sweep you off your feet,” advises Bakersfield Field Manager Gabriel Garcia. “Among BLM’s goals are to provide a safe and secure environment for the public, employees and public land users, so we encourage visitors to stay out of the Kern River.”

The Keysville Special Recreation Management Area remains open, but swimming is strongly discouraged, and anyone who enters the water does so at their own risk.

BLM will be posting warning signs in day-use areas and other recreational sites along rivers due to fast moving water, undertows and currents, and rocks hidden beneath the surface of the water.

Other considerations include:

  • Stay away from river edges and check for closures or warnings before venturing outdoors. Also, watch out for floating debris such as tree limbs that might have been washed into the river or stream.
  • Rattlesnakes are found throughout the river area and hikers and campers should be careful where they put their hands and feet.
  • If rafting or kayaking, use all appropriate safety gear. Watch children closely; keep them away from fast moving water, be sure they have flotation devices and stay close to them while they are playing in or near the water.
  • Stay hydrated with extreme temperature changes; it is not uncommon to see more injuries and fatalities in the summer due to heat stroke or dehydration, since temperatures often soar above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • And finally, be sure to bring extra water and remember to sip often.