This beautiful season in our county is an excellent time to get outdoors and enjoy our many recreational amenities, from trailheads to lakes to river crossings. Those outdoor amenities are the very reason many of us live here, and drive tourism into Nevada County, but we do need to take steps to protect our rivers and open spaces or risk seeing them ‘loved to death. That is why I am serving on both the South Yuba River Public Safety Cohort and the Recreation Ad Hoc Subcommittee – to coordinate with land managers and other stakeholders to prioritize programs and projects that alleviate the biggest impacts on our outdoor resources, such as sanitation, litter, emergency vehicle access, wildfire threat and more. At the end of April, the board approved $800,000 of federal stimulus funds to spend on that those very needs.
One of our most important river advocates, the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL), is recruiting volunteers for its annual River Ambassadors program, which is absolutely vital to protecting the Yuba River and its many visitors.
River Ambassadors use a friendly, non-confrontational approach to educate and inform visitors about river rules and ethics while recreating on local beaches and trails. Each weekend, a team of river ambassadors sets up booths and signage at the busiest river crossings, provides information to visitors, removes trash and graffiti, dismantles illegal fire rings and interacts with visitors along trails and beaches. River ambassadors are also equipped with satellite phones from Nevada County Office of Emergency Services and serve as an emergency contact for guests when accidents happen at the river.
The Ambassadors are out at the river crossings starting May 29 and running through Sept. 6. COVID-safe protocols will prioritize the health and wellbeing of volunteers. For more information and to sign up for volunteer dates, visit yubariver.org.
And don’t miss out on a fun opportunity to celebrate all the wonderful trails we have here in Nevada County. On June 4 and 5, Bear Yuba Land Trust – another key local advocate for our natural resources – is hosting their annual Celebration of Trails event. This event – which will feature a series of hikes, runs, equestrian and bike rides and rolls – celebrates diverse trail users and raises funds for trail maintenance projects. Find out more here: https://paybee.io/@bearyuba.
Finally, once again this year, you will find free yellow day-use life jackets at Bridgeport, Highway 49 Bridge and Hoyt’s Crossings. These jackets were very popular with last year’s river visitors and, it’s exciting to note, there were no drownings in the 2020 river season. Starting on Memorial Day Weekend, River Ambassadors will be giving away bandanas to river visitors. These free bandanas provide helpful safety and visitor ethics information in both English and Spanish. They are funded by the South Yuba River Cohort’s member agencies, including the County.