From Sunscreen to Dog Waste Bags – River Ambassadors Have You Covered

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Every weekend, thousands of people from near and far venture to the majestic South Yuba River to relax and refresh in its sparkling emerald pools. The stunning colors and large granite boulders make the river a unique and special place to recreate. Unfortunately, every weekend broken glass, trash, and other kinds of waste are left behind putting the Yuba at risk of being “loved to death.” 

On a typical summer Saturday at HWY 49 or Bridgeport crossings, you will find people pulling into the parking lot as early as 7am. By noon, the parking lots have completely filled and cars begin to stack up along the roadsides, tightly packed to avoid parking tickets. From dogs and easy-ups, to floaties and coolers, all friends and river gear are unloaded for the day. This is where our volunteer River Ambassadors come in. As visitors approach the river they’ll see a pop-up tent and a group of people in beige vests offering trash bags and doggie bags, advice and hiking trail directions.

Joining their River Captains, each weekend this group of SYRCL volunteers give their time to clean up trash and keep visitors informed about safety conditions. In partnership with California State Parks, the River Ambassadors program was created to help keep the South Yuba River clean, healthy and safe.

Now in its eighth season, River Ambassadors have had a significant impact on the river community. This season alone, River Ambassadors have spoken to over 7,000 people and removed over 3,200 pieces of trash and 100 piles of dog waste along the South Yuba.

Need sunscreen or poison oak wash? Forget your dog waste bags? Looking for a California State Parks Map? The River Ambassadors have you covered. This tremendously dedicated group of staff and volunteers truly embody river stewardship and we are grateful to have them at SYRCL.

Part of what makes being in nature so beautiful, is that it’s ever-changing. This season the river has shown just how unpredictable it can be and as a result the Yuba community has seen much tragedy.

To increase awareness of the dangers on the Yuba, River Ambassadors have been handing out bright yellow river safety bandanas created by the Nevada County Safety Cohort. You can get your bandana and help us keep our river safe when you stop by a River Ambassadors booth this weekend at HWY 49 and Bridgeport crossings.

We are still looking for enthusiastic volunteers to build our River Ambassadors program for the next season! Join us to become a River Ambassador for a Day at HWY 49 and Bridgeport crossings throughout Labor Day weekend. River Captains will have volunteer waivers on site for those looking to help us pick up litter and try out the program. If interested, please contact Community Engagement Manager, Daniel Belshe,

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