For Immediate Release: April 1, 2021
Contact: Melinda Booth, SYRCL Executive Director, (123) 456-789
SYRCL Announces “Yuba-Tubin’ World” themed water park at Englebright Dam;
261-foot high water slide will be world’s highest
In a move that promises to transform river-based environmental advocacy and the tourism industry around the world, the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) today announced a proposal to build a massive water park at Englebright Dam on the main stem of the Yuba River 20 miles west of Grass Valley.
The park’s main attraction will be a series of water slides and closed flumes that will descend from the crest of the 261-foot high dam to the river below, dwarfing the world’s current highest water slide, the 164-foot high “Kilimanjaro” slide in the Aldeia das Aguas Park Resort in Brazil.
The park is expected to cost $100 million to construct, will create more than 1,000 long-term jobs locally, and is scheduled for a grand opening two years from today’s announcement. The park – tentatively named “Yuba-Tubin’-World” – is a joint venture between SYRCL; the Army Corps of Engineers, which constructed and operates Englebright Dam; and other restoration partners.
SYRCL has worked for decades to restore endangered native Chinook salmon and Steelhead trout to their ancestral spawning grounds in the upper Yuba River watershed, and the park is designed to help meet that goal: during spawning season salmon and steelhead will ascend the water slides and flumes and eventually surmount the dam to continue their upstream migration to spawn. A sequence of resting pools incorporated into the slides and flumes will allow the fish to rest during their ascent alongside descending humans enjoying beverages at poolside minibars.
“People know SYRCL for our passionate, effective advocacy for restoring the Yuba’s endangered Chinook salmon and steelhead runs, which before the Gold Rush were some of the largest in California’s Central Valley,” SYRCL Executive Director Melinda Booth said. “We’re also known for thinking outside the box – and what could be more innovative than spicing up their spawning routine with complimentary shots for all fish who make it up the waterslide?”
Englebright Dam was built on the main stem of the Yuba River in 1941 to capture mining debris washed downstream from hydraulic gold mining operations in the upper watershed. The dam, constructed without fish ladders, also blocked migrating fish from accessing their ancestral spawning grounds in the North, Middle and South Yuba Rivers. Dams such as Englebright are a leading cause of the decline of native salmon and steelhead.
Formally, SYRCL envisions a free-flowing Yuba River in which fish can migrate unimpeded. The non-profit will celebrate the 40th anniversary of its founding in 2023—the same year the park is slated to open.
“After dedicating years of hard study to the issue, SYRCL believes that the best way to ensure the long-term survival of these species – and we’re thinking on the scale of centuries and millennia here – is to secure their short-term survival over the coming decades, and Yuba-Tubin’ World is part of that vision, Booth said.
Erica Schwumpf, Restoration Director for the International Salmon Campaign, predicted that Yuba-Tubin’ World would be embraced by the conservation community. “Yuba-Tubin’ World is definitely going to challenge some people’s preconceptions of what river restoration looks like, but it holds the promise of restoring these endangered fish species. Imagine one of nature’s most majestic spectacles, with tens of thousands of salmon and steelhead swimming hundreds of miles from the ocean, leaping high waterfalls and boulders and a 261-foot high dam, to spawn in the mountain streams where they were born, just as they have for tens of thousands of years. And humans will witness this miracle while sipping frozen margaritas and daiquiris while lounging on inflatable rafts, floaties and foam noodles, just as we have for tens of thousands of years.”
Booth said some ideas for the park had been rejected, such as a proposal to install large rings at the dam’s crest through which migrating fish would leap, like dolphins performing in a water show, and a siege engine-like “fishapult” that would launch fish over the dam from its base. “We’re really looking to preserve the dignity of these majestic fish,” Booth said. “We’re not looking to make fools of anyone – humans or fish.”
To learn more about Yuba-a-Tubin’ and track the progress of the park, visit: www.yubariver.org/
Happy April Fool’s Day!