On Tues., April 29, 2008, the Placer County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the second reading of a new county ordinance to ban alcohol on portions of the Truckee River during designated summer holiday periods. The first reading was approved by the Board at its April 15, 2008 meeting. The second approval means the ordinance will take effect in 30 days. The Board still needs to set, by resolution, the specific days when the ordinance would be effective.
The ordinance bans the possession of an open container of alcohol or consumption of any alcoholic beverage within three feet of the water on both sides of the river, and on any islands present in the river, from the outfall at Lake Tahoe in Tahoe City to the upstream edge of the Alpine Meadows Bridge. The Fanny Bridge in Tahoe City is excluded from the ban.
A companion piece of legislation, SB 1159, would prohibit possession or consumption of alcohol on the Truckee River during designated summer holidays and is working its way through the California State Legislature. That bill passed out of the Senate and is currently in the Assembly.
While Placer County can regulate the land along portions of the Truckee River, the state has jurisdiction over the actual waterway.
The Truckee River has played a central role in the summer recreation experience at North Lake Tahoe for decades, and is especially popular during the Fourth of July holiday, when thousands of rafters ride the river. Irresponsible alcohol use along this portion of the river during peak holiday periods, however, has created a public safety hazard, degradation of the tourism experience, and a negative impact on the environment.