Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is making a decision to fence out river access

COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) -- Riverbanks Zoo and Garden has announced their decision to put up a fence blocking public access to the Saluda River.

In the past three years Riverbanks has seen more than a million visitors annually, and in the last year they announced an all time attendance high.

With more zoo visitors they have also seen more non-zoo visitors because of where their property is.

One of their parking lots has become a popular area for community members who want to use the Saluda River.

According to CEO, Satch Krantz there has been multiple situations where the safety of zoo visitors and employees have been a concern.

"Public drunkenness, public nudity, fighting, and it just seems to be spiraling out of control and this is our way of regaining control of that," said Krantz.

Riverbanks officials said they have added security cameras, increased patrol, and extended parking to another lot.

Krantz said in the last month there have been two car accidents in the parking lot involving impaired drivers, however no one was injured and both accidents happened after the zoo had closed.

People who use the Saluda are not happy with the fence decision.

"I think it's kind of unecessary, because its going to make it really inconvenient for anybody to get out here and enjoy the river," said Dustin Nettles who Kayaks regularly on the Saluda.

Riverbanks will start putting the fence up at the end of the month.