ARPPS President on Parkway with Channel 3

Good article about the new ordinance restricting fires from Channel 3, which accompanied ARPPS President Mike Rushford in a visit to the Parkway.

An excerpt.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KCRA) —Sacramento County park rangers have started using a new enforcement tool to crack down on illegal camping, hoping to prevent grass fires along the American River Parkway.

Starting Thursday, rangers are confiscating barbeques, grills and propane tanks — any incendiary device generating an open flame.

The new ban on burning comes after the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, led by Supervisor Phil Serna, adopted an urgency ordinance on Tuesday, making it a misdemeanor to generate campfires on the American River Parkway.

The only exceptions are designated picnic areas at county parks. Sgt. A.J. Bennett found his first illegal campfire today within three minutes of beginning his patrol, with KCRA 3 riding along.

Five homeless campers received citations and lost their barbeque grill.

“You guys are aware of the drought for the last four years and the number of fires we’ve had?” Bennett asked the campers. “A lot of them were associated with fires just like that.”

Some of the campers are reluctant to change their ways.

“No one likes cold coffee,” said homeless camper Daniel Harris. “Lot of other things you need fire for.”

He then pointed to his fellow campers and said, “They themselves have to keep an eye on me because I like to build big fires.”

KCRA 3 discovered numerous illegal grills and stoves along the American River Parkway.

The link to grass fires along the Parkway is self-evident.

“Sixty-one fires from May 1 to this time,” Bennett said….

But Sacramento’s homeless problem is now starting to have an impact on the city’s tourism and convention business.

“Just this summer we’ve heard from a couple of convention clients that they love the city, they love the building, they love the energy, but they did encounter a lot of homeless that they didn’t see before,” said Mike Testa, executive director of the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Parkway preservationists also worry the problem of homelessness is getting worse, preventing those who want to bike and just enjoy the beauty of Sacramento’s urban jewel.

“This area should be welcoming,” said Mike Rushford of the American River Parkway Preservation Society. “It should be a place people can come and recreate. And right now it’s a no-man’s land after five o’clock.”

Retrieved September 18, 2015 from



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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