Law enforcement officers in Cherokee County kept busy over the Memorial Day holiday, but an increase in tourists didn’t seem to provide too many additional problems.
Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission Administrator Ed Fite said the river saw an increase over crowds from years past.
“The weekend was very busy with a lot of visitors, and we had a few isolated incidents,” said Fite.
A roadblock set up by the Illinois River fire station Friday evening on Steeley Hollow Road did result in some warnings and citations.
Fite said what mischievous activity did occur seemed to be typical events, and also included things such
as paddle fights. One large group from the Tulsa metro area caused officers some problems, but Fite said they were located and removed.
Visitors to the river also left behind a large amount of trash, Fite said.
“But all in all, it was a good weekend,” he said.
The Illinois River waters were the level that would be expected in August, Fite said, and without a decent amount of rainfall in the near future, the waters will continue to drop.
After losing another 6 inches or so of water, rafting may be more difficult. He said the OSRC is recommending potential visitors get an idea of wind speeds, and if they are over 15 miles per hour out of the south, they should consider taking shorter float trips in a raft.
Cherokee County sheriff’s Capt. Bob Sanders said deputies stayed busy.
“I don’t think there was anything out of the ordinary,” said Sanders, “as far as major crimes. We had some thefts, an attempted break-in at Oklahoma Station.”
Sanders said the would-be thief in that incident escaped back into Cherokee Landing State Park, and deputies couldn’t locate him.
Sanders said deputies dealt with several public-intoxication and other alcohol-related arrests.
Tahlequah Police Department Public Information Officer Brad Robertson said weekend arrests were up slightly, but that increase was expected.
Most arrests over the holiday were for warrants, driving under the influence and public intoxication.
Officers also responded to a couple of domestic-violence situations.
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