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Some Chico fishermen and businesses say Labor Day alcohol ban will drive people away

Published On: Aug 30 2013 12:20:17 PM CDT
CHICO, Calif. -

Law enforcement in both Butte and Glenn counties are gearing up to enforce the alcohol ban for the Labor Day float this weekend. However, some say this ban is unfair and will hurt local businesses around Chico.

The ban means that no drinking will be allowed on the river or within 50 feet of the water.

Many fishermen at the Sacramento River say this ban is not going to solve anything and is actually stopping them from doing what they love this Labor Day weekend.

Chico native Josh Mull says there is no better way to spend his Labor Day weekend then fishing on the Sacramento River near Scotty’s Landing. Now, thanks to the new alcohol ban in effect this weekend, his plans are going to change for the first time in years.

“I guess I won't be camping on the river,” said Mull.

Mull says that every Labor Day weekend, he floats down the river on a boat with his friends, along with a cooler full of cold beers.

“It's ridiculous. They have plenty of laws in the books they need to enforce rather than coming up with more rules and regulations,” said Mull.

The alcohol ban is in effect from the Highway 32 bridge to the mouth of the Big Chico Creek. The problem that Mull and several other fishermen have is that there are no boat launch ramps in that area where they can have alcohol on board.

“There's been no consideration for the guys that have these boat launches built and they [have been coming] out here for the sport of fishing or camping for years, decades,” said Mull.

The only boat launches that are open are the ones at Scotty’s Landing, Pine Creek, and Irvine Finch, but they are within the limits of the alcohol ban.

The only boat launch close to the area that is not within the limits of the ban is the Ord Bend boat launch ramp, but that's been closed since April for construction.

“My business has been affected for the past several years with all the different controls going on and stuff,” said John Scott.

Scott owns Scotty’s Landing and he says his business is going to be slow this weekend.

“A lot of them camp on the river for the weekend. They drink a few beers and they go back and forth and do things in Chico. That won't be happening,” said Scott.

Scott says he gets customers from all over California to fish for salmon or hunt for doves.

“It affects the honest taxpaying person that would normally be out here and they are very upset and that's who pays the bills,” said Scott.

Scott, Mull and others we talked to said they believe the ban is not going to work.

“What they are doing is not going to solve anything. People are going to recreate and have fun this Labor Day weekend,” said Mull.  “[The ban] might stop them from coming out to the river and having fun but in the end they are just going to do what they want to do. This really doesn't solve any problems."