Porterville, CA – Sequoia National Forest Acting Supervisor Rachel Smith has issued a temporary closure to the public’s access of the Tule River in concurrence with Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux. This year’s record level snowpack and warming temperatures have resulted in swift cold water flowing in the Tule River, posing a higher risk to public safety. The Forest closure order starts Tuesday, May 21, 2019, and will stay in effect until further notice.

Public access areas include all sites on the Middle Fork of the Tule River beginning at the entrance to the Giant Sequoia National Monument and extending to the Moorehouse Fish Hatchery just below Pier Point Springs. Also, river access is restricted on the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the Tule River to Wishon Campground.

According to Smith, the areas are very popular with the recreating public during the spring and summer months, primarily those seeking places to swim. “The changing season is contributing to the rapid changes in our rivers and streams. This year’s record level snowpack and warming temperatures have resulted in swift cold water flowing in these drainages, posing a greater risk to public safety than in recent years.”

“This year, we have already seen tragedy on our Tulare County waterways, and it isn’t even Memorial Day yet. I am very concerned about the safety of the people of this county,” said Sheriff Mike Boudreaux. “The water conditions are unsafe and unpredictable and simply not suitable for recreation right now. If shutting down access to a public waterway saves just one life, it is worth any slight inconvenience that it might cause.”

Rivers and streams often swell from runoff caused by snowmelt, which could mean powerful currents that can sweep you off your feet. “In the interest of public safety and in consultation with Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux, I am temporarily closing the area to the public,” Smith explained. “Public safety is of utmost concern for the Forest Service.”

Forest Service officials will reassess water levels and river conditions throughout the summer. When safe, access to the river will be reopened to the public.

Visit the forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/detail/sequoia/notices/?cid=FSEPRD539396 to view the Forest Order or call (559) 784-1500 for more information.

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