Illegal Camping is Growing in Parkway

Based on the figures from the past 11 months of Parkway Rangers Reports (Available at ) it is clear that illegal camping by the homeless is growing much further and in greater numbers up the Parkway from its traditional site in North Sacramento.

Examining all of the Parkway Ranger Reports since March of 2014, the following statistics about illegal camping by the homeless are revealed.

Illegal Camps Occupied & Cited: 720 (Primarily North Sacramento Locations)
48 Hours Notice to Vacate: 284
Camps Cleaned & Removed: 217

Other Locations & How Many ( ) Illegal Camps:

Steelhead Creek/Silver Eagle Way (1);
Sunrise (4);
Lower Sunrise (1);
Gristmill (3);
Paradise (2);
Campers in Boats (2);
Mile 4 (1);
Mile 1.5 (3);
Dry Creek (13);
Riverwood (1);
Madison Avenue/Winding Oak (1);
Jensen Park (1);
Sutter’s Landing (2)
Campus Commons (1);
Watt Avenue & Mira Del Rio (1);
Mile 7 (2);
El Manto (1);
Haggin Oaks (1);
Camp with aggressive dog Mile 10 (1);
Folsom South Canal (1);
Near Soil Born Farm (2);
Riverbend (3);
Mayhew Drain, Island (1);
Howe (1);
Twin Rivers Trail (1);
Cal Expo (1);
20th & C (1);
Island at Rio Bravo (2);
Mile 15 (1);
Rossmoor (2).

Homeless Trashing Areas: Sara Park; Sunrise; El Manto

One way to help Sacramento County Park Rangers address this issue is to have Parkway users who see illegal camps during their Parkway visits, have an expeditious method of reporting them.

Since most folks using the Parkway usually have their cell phones with them, we propose the County establish a dedicated cell phone number that Parkway users can text and send photos of campsites and publicize this phone number at all entrances to the Parkway.

Jeff Leatherman, County Parks Director, shares these existing methods of reporting Parkway issues, including illegal camping.

Here are a few of the ways visitors can report non-emergency issues to the Department. For emergencies all park visitors should contact 9-1-1 for immediate response from law enforcement and safety personnel.

1) The Oak Leaf is located on the home page of the Department’s web site and provides an option to report illegal camps by description, gps location and map attachments. In addition users can upload photos to the report.
2) 916-875-7275 (875-PARK) our office phone is staffed during normal business hours Monday-Friday and on Saturdays in the summer starting in April. Community members can call the office to file a report with the Rangers.
3) Sacramento County 311 is a phone, web and app based system that the community can use to report issues to any County department including illegal camping. We are currently working with the contractor to refine the phone app so that I can be used along the Parkway in the cities of Sacramento and Rancho Cordova.
4) The Ranger Stewardship program is an additional program that creates partnerships between local homeowners and community organizations who focus on a particular area of the Parkway or other Regional Park Facilities. The Rangers assigned to specific areas of the Parkway are responsible for coordinating community outreach and responses to safety and law enforcement concerns.

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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