Summer & Paradise Beach, What Are Your Thoughts?

Summer & Paradise Beach, What Are Your Thoughts?

By Todd Damiano

River Park is one of the safest neighborhoods in Sacramento, and it’s a wonderful place to live and raise a family. Our streets are fairly safe and quiet. We have a fantastic elementary school, some local businesses within walking distance, Civarella Field, and we have a park and public swimming pool nearby. So what is the problem? Late spring as the temperatures rise, River Park becomes the destination for those who want to party and leave their trash behind at Paradise Beach and Glenn Hall Park. Because the beach is isolated from the surrounding community it serves as the location for groups of young adults seeking to cool off and party. They arrive at all hours of the day, or even late at night when the park is closed (illegal), to drink alcohol (illegal), start fires or BBQ’s (illegal), and when the party is over simply leave the trash behind for others to clean up (illegal), then pile into their cars parked at Glenn Hall and drive home drunk (illegal).


Cooling off at the river and having fun with friends is fine, but when it turns into trashing the river &/or park and then driving drunk through the neighborhood, I find it difficult to ignore. I’ve spoken with a number of property owners near the park and along Carlson Ave about this seasonal havoc. I’ve heard their stories of car tire tracks left on front lawns, strangers urinating on their grass, empty/broken bottles strewn along the street, broken bits of styrofoam coolers left behind, the list is endless. And this has been going on for decades. I have the impression that apathy has set in with those who live closest to the park. After years of putting up with the annual chaos they are feeling powerless to do anything about it. This issue won’t just go away any more than the river or summertime Sacramento heat will just go away.


Over the years the city has made some improvements. The bollards along Sandburg drive were put in place many years ago to control vehicle access into the park. The electronic gate at the parking lot entrance that automatically closes each night was installed only few years ago. There are likely other measures taken in the past that I’m unaware of, but the problem still persists.


Law enforcement seems to be the obvious solution to this problem. But calling law enforcement is one thing and getting someone to respond is another. I’m certainly not pointing fingers at Sac PD. I believe they do an excellent job and take their job seriously, but there simply are not enough officers on the streets. On weekends, when things are at their worst, Sac officers are likely to be involved with more serious matters. Getting an officer into one of Sacramentos safest neighborhoods to roust a group of kids drinking by the river is unlikely when they could instead be chasing down a hit and run offender or an armed robbery suspect somewhere else on Sacramento streets. And the County Rangers who patrol the American River Parkway are so limited in numbers, they too are simply understaffed.


The purpose of this article is not to rant, lecture, or lay blame. I’m hoping this article generates a dialogue between neighbors in an effort to address what I believe is a longstanding community issue that needs attention. Or perhaps River Park residents don’t consider this a serious issue. Maybe this activity should be accepted as part of the price we pay for living near the river. The first step is to gain public sentiment on this issue. If enough River Park residents consider Paradise Beach a serious community issue, then perhaps as a community something can be done to address it. Do River Park residents have concerns about what takes place at Glenn Hall Park each summer? Do they consider it a problem, and if so, are they willing to make an effort to see that something gets done about it? You’ve heard my position on this. What does the rest of River Park think about what takes place here each summer?

11 comments on “Summer & Paradise Beach, What Are Your Thoughts?
  1. Rosalva says:

    I live across the street from Glen Hall. The gate and parking signs (no parking on the park side after dark) encourage people to park in front of my house if they want to party on the river after dark. They keep us up at all hours, litter and threaten our safety. Yes, this is a big problem. Day time parties are also s problem. What to do about it? I don’t know. Maybe there are things we can do to make it less convenient. No parking for blocks and blocks after dark? Paid parking in the lot? Flood lights on the levee pointing towards the river? I’m open to discussing solutions

    • Justin Wisely says:

      HI Rosalva,
      I am your neighbor around the corner on Carlson and part of the neighborhood watch. The best thing we can do is call it in as soon as parties are starting to show up. This will give the police more time to notify the park rangers and possibly respond themselves. Sometimes Air1 (the police helicopter) is in the area and can do a flyover. This typically causes the parties to scramble out. Also, if you see people parking along the park side you can call 311 and let them know. They are out until 10pm.

      If someone parks in front of your house and pulls out firewood or if you can see alcohol, please call the non-emergency police number (916) 264-5471 to notify them of the situation, as both are signals of illegal activity. We are also trying to track repeat offenders based on their license plate numbers, if you can get a look at theirs send the info to Shelley Hescock at .

      Thank you,

  2. Tony Rivas says:

    More concerned about the illegal camping and the damage be done by the homeless that is occurring there than the yearly influx of people that visit Paradise Beach.

  3. C O'Boyle says:

    It is not that we don’t care, Todd. We have just given up, and don’t go to the river anymore. All of the problems, public drunkeness, fights, aggressive off-leash dogs, and drunk driving, those are all violations of the law. Law enforcement has just looked the other way for years. A helicopter waking up the entire neighborhood telling partiers to “please” put out their fires, really? Why don’t they dump a bucket of water on the fire from the copter?

  4. Todd Damiano says:

    We moved into River Park 10 years ago, Over the years I’ve discussed this issue with countless residents and virtually all of them share the same sentiment: “We’re tired of all the trash, noise and problems at the park during the summer. It seems nothing will change it so we simply avoid the park.”…. that’s a shame. I fear it will take something serious before this issue is addressed, but I would hope the community is willing to make an effort before that “something serious” takes place. It would be sad to do nothing and wait for it to happen.

    • Deb says:

      Have we talked to any neighborhood associations in similar areas with park access? I can’t imagine we are alone in our struggles. I will make more effort to attend the RPNA meetings.

  5. eric says:

    I certainly hope this post and recent activities spurs more interest in RPNA meetings. Our local police officer is often there, City Council Member Harris is usually present, and the more noise we make, the more attention our neighborhood will get.
    Please consider attending a meeting for an hour each moth and making your voice heard.

  6. Amie says:

    We live on Glen Hall park. My thoughts, which have probably all been discussed over the years (?):
    1) More volunteers from RP for patrol.
    2) No parking in the park lot after sunset. All cars will be ticketed &/or towed
    3) Rangers patrolling the RIVER FRONT area from East of Glen Hall Park to West of Paradise Beach where the beach areas end. At least on Friday/Saturday/Sunday nights at 10,11,and 12 pm (on foot or by bicycle). Incentivize the Rangers. Give out hefty tickets to those breaking the law, the city will be happy and would help pay for more rangers.
    4) No Parking on Sandberg/Carlson/Seward Court/ Hale (maybe even Balboa and Cisco) from sunset to sunrise, without permit.
    5) Bring the garbage cans into strategic points. At the very least, those of us who do pickup trash could toss it easily.
    6) Frequent random DUI checkpoints at the 2 RP exists on Weekend nights

    • eric says:

      I agree with all of those points, but would add having law enforcement there when the parties are getting started, not just when they’re under way. Law enforcement is not doing its job and needs to be more proactive.

      • Amie says:

        Yes, it all comes down to more patrolling and law enforcement. What can we do to get more rangers etc?

        We’ve joined RP patrol. So far the Rangers have been responsive and broken up a party, come to follow up on a camping couple with a fire.

    • Deb says:

      Thank you, Amie. I don’t live near the park but feel a sense of loss because it is so close, yet so undesirable. I agree with your suggestions.

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