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Critics of SYRCL: Join us!

How in the world did the South Yuba River Citizens League become a target for some angry-minded people?

As a teacher in the Nevada City School District, and a volunteer for SYRCL, I understand the importance of the work they do, particularly their educational programs. SYRCL has a watershed curriculum along with a salmon cycle curriculum, which meets California state standards in science. Their educational programs have given my students and me a greater awareness of our responsibility as citizens to protect resources that come into harm’s way.

It seems a few of our Board of Supervisors lack leadership skills needed to protect our incredible river and its wildlife, while other critics are remiss in learning about the educational opportunities that SYRCL provides to our community. The critics might want to attend SYRCL’s upcoming film festival this weekend. The thought-provoking festival incorporates beautifully filmed stories that globally cut to the bone by profoundly waking us up to real life environmental human concerns. I don’t know about you, but this seems pretty important in the big scheme of things.



SYRCL cares deeply about educating us and stands committed to protecting the Yuba River. The organization has worked diligently to involve government officials on the importance of federally achieving our wild and scenic status.

I’m confused as to why anyone would want to prevent the creation of a wild and scenic status in an area as beautiful as Nevada County. Or worse, try to take the status away once it has been arduously achieved. Do some people really gain satisfaction by knocking down purposeful environmental causes and ignoring our current ecological problems? I guess we can pretend they don’t exist.




SYRCL must stay vigilant, because some seem to think our natural resources are frivolous and unimportant – a waste of time and money to protect. SYRCL is staffed with highly educated and well-respected people who should make decent salaries or be hired as independent contractors.

Businesses save money by hiring independent contractors. Paying competitive salaries to the guardians of this river seems like an excellent priority; it’s not a question of “deep pockets.” Like any other reputable business, it costs money to oversee it. The integral people who run SYRCL have all their financial records available for the public to view. Ignorant people aren’t stupid, just sadly uninformed.

Critics, please don’t be vindictive to those of us who wish to protect, enjoy and leave behind an emerald jewel. I would highly recommend that you go for a swim this summer through a carved-out canyon rippling in igneous rock, or plunge from a 15-foot metamorphic boulder with warm air gushing up your bathing suit, or perhaps just listen to the children’s delight as they search for gold in a clean, old-fashioned swimming hole, tiptoeing across sedimentary rocks that get stuck between their toes. The stress of life will evaporate and new appreciation will reveal itself … I promise!

This God-made river creates hope for a better world and has the power to divulge better citizens, committed to leaving an abundance of natural treasures for our children and for their children.

I’ve seen this powerful water turn angry hearts into gentle, rational people. I believe the fellowship of this river will continue for centuries to come, and I invite the critics and the nonbelievers to find their way down to its gushing edges and join us, so we can come together as a community and continue to protect our sacred Yuba River!

Karen Leigh Sharp is a mother, wife and teacher who cares deeply about creating kinder societies through the education of people. She lives on 20 acres at North San Juan with her husband, Greg, daughters Chelsea and Sophie, and a lot of animals.


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