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The Tulare County Sheriff Office and the Sequoia National Forest have temporarily closed the Tule River.
According to a news release, the closure begins on Tuesday and will stay in effect until further notice.
The 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. River access is restricted on the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the Tule River to Wishon Campground.
“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,” said Sheriff Mike Boudreaux in the news release. “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.
The closure of the river comes a week after a 16-year-old boy went missing on Sunday, May 12 after suddenly going under the water and never coming back up. He wast last seen in the area between Springville and Camp Nelson above Coffee Camp.
As a result to this year’s record level snow pack and warm temperatures, the swift and cold waters flowing make it dangerous to the public.
The Lower Kings River in Kings County was also shut down Thursday, May 16 after officials declared a state of local emergency due to the high flows from Pine Flat Dam and remaining snow pack above the dam.
Forest Service officials will reassess water levels and river conditions throughout the summer and reopen access to the river when safe.