JOINT PRESS RELEASE – Whatcom County Executive Jack Louws and Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo
NOOKSACK RIVER TUBING ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS FOR THE 2014 SEASON
Monday, April 28
The recreational tubing season is fast approaching and the Sheriff’s Office and County Government would like to provide notice to the public that criminal activity associated with tubing on the Nooksack River will be met with enhanced patrols and stricter enforcement during the 2014 summer season. The primary focus of the patrols will be the stretch of the Nooksack from the Mt. Baker Hwy (SR 542) to Acme.
County Executive Jack Louws, last year, committed to additional overtime funding to support a multi-year proactive enforcement strategy for the South Fork of the Nooksack. The County Executive, Sheriff’s Office and the Public Works Department continue to work on ways to address the concerns of local residents in the interest of safe and legal access to this recreational area. Public Works staff will soon install signs on Potter and Strand roads as well as at the old campground in Acme notifying tubers to please park legally, pick up litter, do not trespass, and respect residents.
The Sheriff’s Office has, in past years, responded to increased complaints associated with tubers during the months of June through August. These calls included a gamut of issues from trespassing, littering, minors consuming alcohol, open containers of alcohol, public indecency, disorderly conduct, driving under the influence or driving recklessly to parking and other traffic violations.
In 2013, over 500 people were contacted and approximately 220 people were provided a verbal warning and educated on the laws as they related to recreational use of the Nooksack River. Additionally, deputies arrested 61 people for alcohol violations, as well as five for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs; 22 people were arrested for criminal trespassing. There were 75 citations and infractions issued for parking violations.
Those who plan to enjoy recreation on or along the Nooksack need to be cognizant of the applicable laws and be respectful of private property. Due to several points of public access to the river, it is considered a public place. In accordance with RCW 66.44.100, open container and consumption of alcohol is not permitted in public areas.
With regard to illegal parking, vehicles found to be blocking the travel portions of county roadways will be towed at the owner’s expense, in addition to receiving a ticket. Drivers need to pay attention to posted county signs designating where vehicles may and may not park. It is essential that roadways be kept clear so delivery of emergency vehicles and resources for those in need can be maintained.
Contact: Chief Criminal Deputy Doug Chadwick, 360 676 6650