" We've got some areas here where people can really get hurt and get sucked into the water flow very easily and we're very concerned about that", said Don Remley, Feather River Parks & Recreation General Manager. That's why public access to the Riverbend Park in Oroville has been cut off. Park officials locked the gates at the main entrance Saturday and say they won't be unlocked until they are sure it's safe for visitors.
" We're very concerned because of the very strong current, we had children out here swimming Sunday which was not safe", Remley explained. Those strong currents are the main concern along with flooded sections of the park. Walkways and picnic benches now sit under several feet of water due to the release from the Oroville Dam which is currently at 30,000 cubic feet per second. " Until the release is cut down so that we don't have the flooding we'll probably just cut off the public access to the public", said Remley. Park officials are hopeful the locked gates at the main entrance will also prevent people from trying to enter the park from any other location. " Most people know to stay away from the water and to use good judgment, but some people don't", explained Remley.
The few buildings that are currently submerged along with debris from the water will still have to be cleaned up once the water subsides. Park officials say the water levels have gone down a couple of feet since yesterday, but say upcoming storms could bring back the flooding. They plan on keeping the gates completely locked until all the flooding is gone.