Plan for Yuba begins to take shape |

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Plan for Yuba begins to take shape

The first raw draft of a plan to manage the South Yuba River in Nevada County ponders everything from nude sunbathing to visitor limits to a glass bottle ban.

The South Yuba River Comprehensive Management Plan’s initial document was unveiled last week and is not even the document that will be released at the end of the month for public comment. It covers a 39-mile stretch from Lake Spaulding to Englebright Lake.

“We’re giving people a running start with this first draft,” said John Scull of the Bureau of Land Management and a member of the plan’s management team.

According to Tahoe National Forest ranger and team member Jean Masquelier, “public scoping starts in January,” and runs 30 days. Also on the team are representatives from the planning department of Nevada County and the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

The team has met with various members of the public in 40 meetings since July 2003 to ensure local input. The plan team hopes to have a final document by May 2005.

“It’s a proposed action and definitely not perfect,” Masqulier said. After January’s public input, “we’ll get back together and look at comments for merit.”

According to Scull, one of things in the draft that could well bring comment is a provision to close the Keleher Picnic Area on the outskirts of Washington. According to area resident Karl Stewart, some want the picnic area to remain open, while others find growing crowds there a nuisance.

Scull said alcohol and glass bottles were also heavily scrutinized by the group. Alcohol is already banned on the South Yuba River State Park, which is made up of patches of land, most of which are at river input points like Bridgeport, the Highway 49 bridge, Purdon Crossing and Edwards Crossing.

“There was quite a bit of talk about that,” Scull said, with some wanting alcohol only in remote areas and none in high use areas.

That discussion also brought a consensus, Scull said, where “glass is pretty much going to be forbidden on the South Yuba.”

The draft document also looks at limiting visitors at the river’s hot spots, which are essentially the state park parcels at the crossings. At Bridgeport, a 400- to 600-person limit is being pondered with 160 parking spots and possibly more.

At Bridgeport, Edwards Crossing, Purdon Crossing and above Washington, nude sunbathing is permitted out of the sight of the bridges and generally used swimming areas.

The focus of the plan is on a quarter-mile depth on both sides of the river, designed to keep historic uses on private and public ground. The plan addresses habitat and ecological conditions and also calls for businesses to continue marketing the river while not disrupting it too much.

For more information

• Call the river plan team hotline at 272-6536

• E-mail

• Visit the Web site: