Access will ruin Yuba’s goldfields |

Access will ruin Yuba’s goldfields

In response to Tim Omarzu’s article about the new access to the Yuba River and the goldfields (The Union, Nov. 1), I can only say, “There goes the neighborhood.”

I have been flyfishing the Yuba since 1986. There was greater access above Parks Bar then. The landowners didn’t mind, as long as their property was respected. It lasted about six years, until some squatters decided to move in. They trashed the area that we used as access to the riverbed (the locals know what I’m talking about), so a gate was erected, no lock, just a deterrent. That was ignored; they came back. Now there is no access without a hike or annual fee.

Now the lower section has been opened. (There must be something in it financially for the pushers of this decision.) I have drifted this beautiful river for years. It has always been a river with two faces, the elder being the devastating results of unrestricted methods of gold extraction (the moonscape).

The younger, wiser face, is the one that is content with a few pimples and a mole. It is healthy in mind and body. This river is one of the very few in the state that doesn’t have a fish hatchery on its course. It does have a dam (that’s the mole). With the efforts of groups and agencies working together, we have been blessed with an awesome natural fishery.

Now, with this new public access, you might as well put a raunchy burlap bag over the Yuba below Parks Bar. Two weeks after opening, I used the road for access I could only reach by drifting from the bridge. There were beer cans, worm tubs and trash everywhere.

Just last week, I spoke to a few gentlemen coming off the river after a drift from Parks Bar to Daguerre Point Dam. They were sad. One man said, “This river is for hiking or drifting, so it can truly be enjoyed.” They told me of colored grafitti on the concrete abutments below the bridge and held up a huge bag of garbage they had collected.

How ironic that in the same issue of The Union there is also a report of a fire, late at night, in the same goldfields that are only accessible through the newly opened road. Gosh, could it have been vandals with new access to unpatroled areas in the 5,000 acres of remote “playground”?

OK, poachers, grab your snagging hooks. OK, underaged ignorant partiers, grab your brewskies. Trash this beautiful place in your own backyard while you can. With a little effort, you can make it look just like your own front yard.

It won’t be long before the DFG and the sheriffs figure out where you have gone. Unfortunately for a lot of us, it’s obvious. The evening caddisfly hatch has been overshadowed by the late-night ignorant hatch.

My suggestion: lock it up after 10 p.m. with a big lock!

Jeffrey Adam lives in Grass Valley.

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