Tom Stienstra, the longtime Outdoors columnist for the Chronicle, got a bit "get-off-my-lawn" in this morning's column about the Rafters Gone Wild event on the American River in Sacramento. He laments the fact that "younger generations" use the outdoors, and public parks, as places for "drunken barbarism" and shotgunning beers which he describes in technical detail for the uninitiated older folks. "Boomers," he writes, in contrast, "want 'salve for the soul'" when they venture outdoors, and they're "willing to go great distances and expend physical energy to find a place of peace." All these silly kids just want to get drunk in the sun, though, and this makes him sad.
Stienstra, himself, is no stranger to intoxicants. He got busted two years ago for a rather large weed-growing operation in the town of Weed (yep), in Siskiyou County. But, really, it's the binge drinking he doesn't understand, because in his day, there was no such thing as funneling or shotgunning, at least not in his outdoorsy circles.
In any event, he takes a melée that broke out during this American River booze fest on Saturday something which we neither condone nor would ever want to be a part of as an excuse to indict an entire generation or two for being drunken idiots who don't know how to appreciate a lovely river. There were some 3,000 people at the event, and it appears to have been more boozy and crazy than usual because authorities announced alcohol bans this year on the river over the Memorial, July 4th, and Labor Day weekends.
We don't think there were any actual Baby Boomers looking to have a place of peace on the American River this weekend, but if there were, they would have had to contend with a horde of Gen Yers getting wasted. "When the different generations intersect at a park or campground, and neither relinquishes its goals," Stienstra warns, "you better get ready to call 911." What?