TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Effective Thursday, Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux has issued temporary river closures for parts of the Kaweah, Kern, and Tule rivers.

Sections of the Kings and St. John’s rivers are already closed to the public. Deputies say the closure orders begin Thursday and will stay in effect until further notice.

This year’s record-level snowpack and warming temperatures have resulted in swift, cold water flowing in the Kaweah, Kern, and Tule rivers, as well as the Kings and St. John’s rivers. This makes all the waterways in Tulare County dangerous and the banks unstable for the public, according to officials.

Authorities say do not enter the waterways.

Public access will be closed in the following areas:

  • Kaweah River at Cobble Knoll and Slick Rock recreational areas
  • Sections of the Kern River within Tulare County at all points along the Kern River beginning at Dry Meadow Creek, approximately two miles east of the Johnsondale Bridge, down to the Tulare/Kern County Line. The closure order would include all river access locations for recreational use
  • Currently, Mountain Highway 99 is closed at Roads End near McNally’s to Johnsondale, due to construction
  • Sections of the Tule River from the National Monument to Lower Coffee Camp. There will be no public access at all sites on the Middle Fork of the Tule River beginning at the entrance to the Giant Sequoia National Monument and extending to the Moorehouse Fish Hatchery just below Pier Point Springs
  • River access is restricted from the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the Tule River to Wishon Campground
  • Currently, Highway 190 is closed at Balch Park Road due to construction

Deputies say they will monitor water levels and river conditions throughout the summer and when it’s safe, access to the rivers will be reopened to the public.

Sheriff Boudreaux wants to remind everyone to be extremely careful in all of the local waterways and says while the water might look calm, it is not and a situation can turn dangerous in an instant.