Homeless Illegal Camping & Parkway Fires

Here is an important story from KCRA Channel 3, I missed when it was first reported in November of 2014 and it is so newsworthy even today, that I felt it deserved a post; especially considering the number of people illegally camping in the Parkway who were cited in the first nine months of 2014 (485) and there are surely a lot more who are dug in to the thick bramble and thickets that they remain undiscovered.

An excerpt.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KCRA) —Sacramento County officials pledged to do more to enforce campfire laws in light of a KCRA 3 investigation that found only a handful of citations were issued this year.

Despite a continuing statewide drought and an unprecedented number of wildfires along the American River Parkway this summer, a review of citations found only six were written for open campfires.

KCRA 3 captured video of open fires burning along the American River Parkway and spotted smoldering fire pits remnants.

“As long as nobody does anything about it and makes them move or finds somewhere for them to be, preferably not here, they’re going to continue to illegally camp along the river — and they are destroying it,” Cathe Torgerson said at a homeowners meeting in the Woodlake neighborhood recently.

Jeff Leatherman, the director of the county’s Regional Parks Department, said officials are now reviewing how the county is enforcing campfire laws.

“We need to do an increase in enforcement — not only on the campfires, but then we have new ordinances in place that deal with barbecues on the parkway, as well,” Leatherman said.

The fires are indicative of a larger issue, the sheer number of homeless people camping along the river.

The parks department has beefed up its force of 21 park rangers, including a task force dedicated to illegal camping.

When officials find people in the tents, they get a citation.

“You are going to get a ticket today,” a ranger told two campers after waking them in their tents. “It’s an infraction. All right. Make sure you guys take care of it or it will turn into a warrant.”

Through September of this year, rangers have cited 485 people for illegal camping.

Retrieved January 30, 2015 from http://www.kcra.com/news/campfire-enforcement-to-be-increased-after-kcra-investigation/29810180

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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