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Garbage in, garbage out: Volunteers remove thousands of pounds of trash

Submitted to The Union
Volunteers take part in the 24rd annual Yuba River cleanup hosted by SYRCL on Saturday at the Parks Bar area off Highway 20 near Smartsville. Volunteers collected more than 2 tons of trash from this location, which included motor oil, and refuse from both sides of the river.
Photo: Elias Funez


More than 6 tons of trash were collected during Saturday’s SYRCL river cleanup, with more than two of that coming from the Parks Bar location off Highway 20 near Smartsville.
Photo: Elias Funez
Volunteers unload trash from the back of a vehicle during Saturday’s Yuba River cleanup, which took place over dozens of miles and multiple locations.
Photo: Elias Funez

From the headwaters along Donner Summit to the confluence of the Yuba and Feather rivers, hundreds of people turned out for the South Yuba River Citizens League’s 24th annual Yuba River Cleanup that took place from Sept.11 to Saturday.

This year’s event had two different phases: the self-guided cleanup that took place Sept. 11 through Friday, and the community cleanup on Saturday. During the self-guided cleanup, more than 150 volunteers removed 2,600 pounds of trash and recycling from 12 sites along the South Yuba River, Deer Creek, and Wolf Creek. These volunteers included students from SAEL and Forest Charter, as well as Nevada Irrigation District employees. Tahoe National Forest lent a special helping hand in areas of the watershed that were closed to the public earlier in the week.

“This event is successful each year because so many of our community members are committed to keeping the Yuba wild and scenic,” said Melinda Booth, SYRCL’s executive director, in a news release. “The annual cleanup is also a great way to close the river ambassador season, which works all summer to educate the public on river safety and etiquette with the hope of reducing the trash we find each year during the cleanup.”

The over 250 volunteers who participated in Saturday’s community cleanup collected and disposed of an additional 10,000 pounds of trash across 13 sites that included river crossings, dump sites on Tahoe National Forest land, and abandoned encampments. Mattresses, illegal mining equipment, and fire grates were found, along with countless pieces of micro-trash.

“For many of our participants, cleaning up is a year-round activity,” said Betsy Brunner, SYRCL’s communications and engagement director. “We are grateful to everyone who packs out a little — or a lot of — extra trash when they visit. Every little bit helps.”

Source: South Yuba River Citizens League


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