A local environmental nonprofit will attempt to help park officials manage the South Yuba River State Park in times of extreme budget constraints for the state government.
The South Yuba River Citizens League announced on Wednesday the creation of a volunteer-based initiative to perform outreach to reach out to Yuba River users about how local residents and out-of-towners can help keep the river clean, safe and healthy this summer.
The River Ambassador Program will provide assistance to park officials in addressing serious risks from fires in the canyon, garbage dumping and water pollution due to unsanitary practices, said SYRCL Executive Director Caleb Dardick.
"Severe cutbacks in services, such as park rangers and trash pickup are putting the most popular river access areas at risk," Dardick said. "As advocates for the preservation of the river, the River Ambassador program is one-way that SYRCL volunteers can partner with State Parks and the Bureau of Land Management to maintain the river's natural beauty."
The River Ambassador Program is designed to educate and motivate the hundreds of thousands of annual visitors to the river about the importance of keeping the park clean and safe.
The volunteers will be tasked with talking face-to-face with visitors.
"The Yuba River is much-loved," said SYRCL Volunteer Coordinator Miriam Limov. " In fact, with over 450,000 annual visitors it's in danger of being unintentionally loved to death. We are looking for friendly, outgoing volunteers who love and care for the river to serve as River Ambassadors."
California State Park Superintendent Marilyn Linkem said the financial constraints her department is facing has rendered monitoring the entire river corridor a challenge.
"We commend SYRCL for taking this proactive approach in providing a trained volunteer corps of community members who can support our efforts and help to improve the experience visitors and locals have in this beautiful area," Linkem said.
The River Ambassadors will target two heavily used river crossings along the South Yuba River, the Highway 49 Bridge and Purdon Crossings.
The pilot program will run every weekend from June 30th to September 15th, as well as the Fourth of July and Labor Day holidays. SYRCL is currently recruiting at least 30 volunteers.
River Ambassador training will focus on how to educate visitors about river stewardship and to encourage responsible behaviors at the river.
Ambassadors will not be trained to be park rangers or police and will have no enforcement responsibilities.
River Ambassadors must commit to at least five shifts (3 hours each) over the course of the summer.
For more information call SYRCL at (530) 265-5961.
To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 477-4239.