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Greenhorn Creek host to dangerous celebrations

It’s big, it’s dusty and on the weekend it’s filled with kids who are the proud owners of trucks lifted beyond the point of being practical or even cool. It’s a place that most of us have been for one reason or another and if your parents are Nevada County kids, chances are that they’ve spent their fair share of time there, too. Greenhorn Creek has been a local hang out spot for parties and recreation for generations. Yet, how appropriate of a place is the creek for such activities?

For starters, the majority of the Greenhorn Creek area is owned by a certain local business and their property is bordered by that of local homeowners. Thus, most any activity on the creek is trespassing, and I’m sure if given a choice the owners would prefer no activity on the creek bed what-so-ever. The chances of that ever happening are slim; therefore, we, as a community should at the very least have some respect for the fact that we are using someone else’s land.

Some respectful ideas we could start with? How about not burning vehicles in the creek bed then leaving the remaining pile of metal to be drug around the creek bed as entertainment for those lacking better things to do. Setting a vehicle on fire is, for lack of a better word, dumb. The intentional ignition of something such as a car is also known as arson, which is illegal. Not to mention, burning vehicles with a tank full of gasoline aren’t the safest objects to roast marshmallows around while you’re drunk off your rocker.



Did I say drunk? Why yes, I did! Does this imply the occurrence of “keggers” and other gatherings dedicated to the ingestion of alcoholic beverages at the creek? Why yes, it does! Drinking and driving on its own is unacceptable. But the fact that a whole lot of the drinking taking place in the creek is being done by underage kids on someone else’s property is past unacceptable and quickly approaching the realm of ridiculous. If you really feel the need to give yourself a hangover and partake in the use of other illegal substances, do it in your own backyard, not someone else’s.

Even more disconcerting than the lack of respect that goes along with partying at the creek is the danger. Say for instance that you’ve been drinking at the creek and something unexpected happens, such as your best friend getting a little tipsy and stumbling into that illegal bonfire you just set and severely burning his/herself. After getting lucky enough to even find cell phone reception out of the creek you dial 9-1-1, but unfortunately can’t remember exactly where you are because that last beer was a few beyond few too many. While you desperately attempt to recall how you got to your present location, your friend’s condition deteriorates and now he’s stopped breathing. Sadly, being as the fire department had a delayed response due to your inability to provide accurate directions and because you were too drunk to recall rescue breathing, your friend dies.




Dead people can’t party at the creek, and sooner or later the above scenario is going to become a harsh reality unless teenagers start to get a clue and parents question exactly what their children are doing at Greenhorn Creek. Sooner or later law enforcement will begin to patrol the creek more heavily and much harsher consequences will result from these unacceptable actions.

I realize that teenagers are going to drink, I just feel that they should realize the dangers that exist when drinking at the creek. Death or serious injury is a very real possibility when taking unnecessary risks at Greenhorn. So, here’s my suggestion: find yourselves a new place to throw back some beers, and if you’re not into that bright idea at least throw a sober person with some reasonable navigation skills in your truck before you leave the house. You might even consider buying a map; and for those of you who are incapable of reading maps, a GPS may be a worthwhile investment if you plan on getting yourself lost, or stuck, or drunk.

Lastly, I feel an attitude adjustment may be in order for a few members of the Greenhorn Creek party brigade. Multiple people engaging in illegal actions have become a tad bit snotty with law enforcement when confronted. Along with this, partyers are notorious for sending fire departments on a wild goose chase hunting for fires, medical aids and anything else you can imagine. Where’s the outrage here? Taxpayer dollars are being wasted sending much needed public service personnel on a search for a few punks having a “good time.”

Greenhorn Creek may be a fine place for responsible, respectful citizens, but I’m starting to think that before people are even allowed near the place they should be required to take an IQ test.

Natalie Russell, a 16-year-old Grass Valley resident, is a junior at Nevada Union High School. She writes a monthly column. E-mail her at


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