The 2020 Yuba River Cleanup is Underway

This year’s Yuba River Cleanup is underway and river crossings are looking better and better each day. It was a tough year for the South Yuba River. All summer unprecedented numbers of visitors flocked to the Yuba River for solitude, only to find crowded parking, litter covered beaches and trails overly impacted by humans. Thanks to our dedicated volunteers, community partners, and sponsors, our river community has united to “Protect Your Happy Place” during the 23rd Annual Yuba River Cleanup September 16-27, 2020.

We have had over 400 volunteers take part in the first half of the cleanup, with an additional 200 registered volunteers for the second half and countless community residents joining in support to remove thousands of pounds of trash and recycling from the Yuba River watershed. Our river community knows the river needs help and are ready to lend a hand. SYRCL developed a social-distancing cleanup model this year to protect our river while we protect ourselves. This new cleanup allows volunteers to head to the river at a convenient time and pace for each person.

Daniel Belshe, Community Engagement Manager said, “Our river community has really showed up this year. With increased crowds at the river this year, visitors explored farther up and down the river than just the normal parking lots and beaches at crossings, leaving behind evidence of their presence.  After deploying hundreds of volunteers, we’ll think sites have been cleaned, but then volunteers roll in with more garbage found even farther afield.  This summer, there were more first-time river goers and we are seeing a record number of single-use plastic containers, aluminum cans, and glass bottles left at the river.  However, this week visitors to the Yuba are really inspired by seeing the work of our volunteers at the river.”

A guest visiting Highway 49 from the Bay Area remarked, “We saw the river Cleanup volunteers all day come through and picking up trash. We were so excited to see a river community that cares. They even gave us a bag and our family helped to clean up the beach.”

So far, volunteers have reported over 223 bags of trash and recycling with an estimate weight of 2,630 pounds (only 48% of volunteers have reported findings). In addition to our Cleanup sites, SYRCL assisted in organizing a few smaller Cleanups to isolate hotspots along Wolf Creek, Pioneer Trail, and Washington. Saturday, September 19th, Wolf Creek Community Alliance hosted Cleanup sites along Wolf Creek with the help of Bear Yuba Land Trust they removed trash and recycling from the Wolf Creek Trail and Glen-Jones Park in Grass Valley.

Volunteers can still join the Cleanup through Sunday, September 27th, 2020.  We have sites needing many hands to help clean.  The Pioneer Trail in Tahoe National Forest runs parallel for 13 miles along Highway 20 receives highway litter, trail litter, illegal dumping, and camping litter from the highway to several hundred yards into the forest.  Volunteer can pretty much jump on the trail anywhere between 5 Mile and White Cloud Campground and fill a bag or two of trash.

Image: Christine Schau @ Bridgeport
Image: Wolf Creek Community Alliance & Bear Yuba Land Trust @ Wolf Creek Trail
Image: Daniel Belshe Cleanup Drive-Thru Dumpster filling fast
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