Nooksack River tubers on notice: Increased patrols in Acme area

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 1, 2014 

NOOKSACK TUBING

People tube and float down the south fork of the Nooksack River between Acme and Van Zandt on Saturday, July 6, 2013 in Acme.

ANDY BRONSON — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD Buy Photo

ACME - Whatcom County Sheriff's deputies will continue increased patrols this summer at the tubing areas along the south fork Nooksack River, to maintain the peace between locals and the sometimes rowdy tubers.

The county Executive's Office and the Sheriff's Office jointly announced on Wednesday, April 30, that deputies will be assigned to the stretch of the south fork from Acme to Mount Baker Highway during tubing season, and they will be strict about enforcing the laws.

This continues a campaign begun in July 2013 to respond to complaints from Acme Valley residents about tubers' behavior. Residents have reported trespassing, assaults, public indecency, drinking in public and driving under the influence.

The county will post signs on Potter and Strand roads, and at the old campground in Acme, reminding tubers to park legally, pick up litter, stay off private property and be respectful, the joint press release said.

Overtime for deputies will cost $30,000 this year, Executive Jack Louws said. About five new signs will add a little more to the total cost.

The concentrated patrols will happen from June to Labor Day weekend, depending on the weather, said Doug Chadwick, chief criminal deputy with the Sheriff's Office.

In a report to council last August, Sheriff Bill Elfo said increased patrols did have their desired effect, reducing unwanted behavior among tubers.

Law enforcement officers contacted more than 500 people during tubing season last year, the press release said. While many received warnings, 61 were arrested for alcohol violations, five for DUIs and 22 for trespassing. Seventy-five parking citations were written.

Reach Ralph Schwartz at 360-715-2289 or ralph.schwartz@bellinghamherald.com. Read his Politics blog at bellinghamherald.com/politics-blog or get updates on Twitter at @bhampolitics.

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