This NorCal River Gets Nearly a Million Visitors a Year. Volunteers Are Its Only Hope to Stay Clean.
When it comes to the National Parks in Northern California, federal resources help officials keep it clean and safe for visitors. But when an outdoor destination has similar visitation numbers without the resources, upkeep can be very difficult.
That’s why volunteers are crucial on the South Yuba River.
According to the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL), the South Yuba River State Park sees 800,000 visitors per year. That’s more than Lassen Volcanic National Park or Redwood National Park. In fact, the South Yuba River sees about as many visitors as those two national parks combined, creating a difficult task to maintain the region without federal support.
Much of the visitation surge on the Yuba River was attributed to the Covid pandemic. Since 2020, Google searches for the Yuba River have reached almost 6,000 per day. On social media, #YubaRiver now has tens of thousands of mentions. On a late summer day in 2020, a Nevada County Public Works employees county 682 vehicles at Edwards Crossing, despite the area only having 25 designated parking places.
While California State Parks looks for long-term solutions to properly fund and manage the South Yuba River, the SYRCL is trying to help the river in the short term. Volunteers have become crucial in hauling out trash and toxic debris.
“Due to COVID-19 and the need to recreate closer to home, crowds have continued to flock to the Yuba this summer,” said the SYRCL in a statement. “This increased visitorship has resulted in mounds of trash on beaches and trails. This means that the Yuba River Cleanup is needed now more than ever to protect our watershed.”
On Saturday, September 17, the SYRCL will host its 25th Annual River Cleanup, possibly one of the most important cleanups the river has ever needed. For the cleanup, volunteer will sign up for a start site online and will receive supplies and orientation from a site leader. The cleanup will occur from 9 am to 1 pm.
In order to help this beautiful river stay pristine, please consider volunteering for this crucial cleanup. Or you can donate to the SYRCL here. Because when certain outdoor destinations don’t have the resources, it’s up to us to keep them clean.