GOLD HILL, Ore. — Marine patrol deputies with the Jackson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO) say they are concerned about the potential for accidents after catching wind of a potentially massive gathering on the Rogue River.
"The Big D Float" has been circulating as an event on Facebook, with upwards of 6,000 people expressing interest in going. It's apparently set to take place on Saturday afternoon between Gold Hill and Rogue River, with participants planning to float down the river together.
JCSO said that no "mass gathering permit" has been granted for the event, which could draw hundreds. Marine patrol deputies say that no added safety or security resources are planned, and the agency will only have its normal staffing to cover all of Jackson County's waterways.
“We have concerns about so many people being on the river at once, especially with the water being so cold,” said Sergeant Shawn Richards. “Life jackets are a must and folks need to remember that it’s illegal - and unsafe - to boat while impaired.”
Deputies are also concerned about the potential flood of traffic and needed parking in the area — saying that neither Gold Hill or Rogue River has much in the way of parking or the security necessary for so many unattended vehicles.
“We want people to have fun on the water,” said Sgt. Richards. “But safety should be the first priority.”