May 26, 2018 – With warmer weather and as we head into Memorial Day Weekend, our local South Yuba River is already starting to see an increase in visitors. In response to heightened public safety issues in the area, Nevada County has been facilitating a multi-agency Yuba River Safety Cohort group to take steps towards keeping the South Yuba River’s approximate 700,000 annual visitors safe while enjoying the Yuba’s natural beauty and recreation opportunities.

Every year, first responders receive many calls for help throughout the summer requiring heroic swiftwater rescues due to slips and falls, or people swimming in unsafe river conditions. When swimming in the South Yuba River, it is important to remember that you are in a remote location with minimal to no cell phone service, fifteen to forty-five minute emergency response times, and possibly dangerous swimming conditions depending on water flows. Please always practice water safety by letting friends and family know where you are, keeping an eye on children, making sure the water flows are safe before jumping in, and wearing a flotation device if you are not a strong swimmer.

Parking is limited at most river access points. In recent years, public safety agencies and coordinating organizations have noticed an increase in parking violations, leaving little to no through access for first responders. Last year, approximately sixty percent of the parking tickets issued in the South Yuba River canyon were for cars registered to owners from out of the area. For the safety of the whole community, please only park in designated areas.

Due to the recent influx of parking violations, Federal, State, and local first responder and public safety agencies have teamed up to form a Joint Taskforce to provide an increased presence in the South Yuba River canyon during the summer months. Several times throughout the summer, the Joint Taskforce will be out at local entry points to the South Yuba River, such as the HWY 49 Crossing;Bridgeport; Edwards Crossing; and Purdon Crossing, to monitor the areas for safety and to enforce parking laws.

River-goers are encouraged to carpool, rideshare or take alternative transportation like the Yuba Bus instead of driving when possible. As Nevada County residents recently experienced during the Lobo Fire in October 2017, river canyons such as the South Yuba River are highly susceptible to wildfire,especially during the hot, dry summer months. With a seasonal surge of campers and visitors to the South Yuba River State Park during the season with the highest fire danger, please be mindful of fire safety practices such as carefully putting out your cigarette butts, and abiding by the no fires rule,including campfires, in the South Yuba River State Park.

When visiting the South Yuba River, it is important to enjoy the Wild and Scenic River Corridor while also doing your part to keep the watershed clean. When visiting, please remember to pack-in and pack-out all trash and recycling, pick up after your pets, and don’t bring glass down to the river.

From local public safety agencies and coordinating organizations near our South Yuba River, please remember to “Love the Yuba Like a Local” when visiting this summer.