Member Spotlight: Rick Hartmann

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Meet Rick Hartmann, featured in this week’s Member Spotlight!

Rick@NCTVHow long have you been a SYRCL member?

I was a member of SYRCL before it was known as SYRCL. Although not a resident here, I was here for many summer visits from ’77 until I moved here in 2003. Through conversations with others, I learned that a group of people were forming an organization to help protect the river. I recall sporadically making donations to SYRCL throughout that time in the early to mid ’80’s. Sometimes I’d forget to renew my membership but I’d catch it up whenever I returned.

Tell us a little about yourself:

I’m a retired/disabled refugee from Silicon Valley. I worked in the computer industry for over 40 years but have always had a strong low-tech, back-to-nature side.

My first visit to the river was late summer of 1970 while stationed at Beale AFB. Reassignment overseas and other faraway places prevented my return until 1977 while attending the University of Nevada in Reno. On the river almost every weekend from after finals in May until classes started in September until 1980. Then summer trips from as far away as Las Vegas and Eugene, Oregon.

I have been a Tech Crew volunteer for the Wild & Scenic Film Festival for 8 years and have helped out in food prep for the lunch after the annual Yuba River Cleanup in September.

Whats your favorite activity at the river?

Just being there, in the spot I usually visit. A disabling back injury sometimes makes it difficult to make the hike, so I’m always happy I am just able to walk to my day-camp successfully.

Why should people visit the river?

  • We need to take a break from cell phones and technology to reconnect with nature and appreciate what being out in the real world is like.
  • Remind ourselves that for millennia indigenous peoples depended on the watershed for everything, water, food and shelter—and how far removed from that we are today.
  • For those of us who are social nudists, it’s one place where we can be outdoors without clothing and maybe the best skinny-dipping river in California—or the whole U.S.

What is your favorite place in the Yuba Watershed?

Today, S. Yuba above Purdon Crossing. In the ’70’s it was just downstream from “Acid Rock” above the old Hwy 49 Bridge.

Why are you a SYRCL member?

I support the mission of SYRCL. Keeping the watershed as natural and pristine as possible, maintaining a flourishing riparian habitat and returning the salmon to their natural breeding areas without the interference of dams.

What would you say to someone who is thinking of joining SYRCL?

We need all the help, fiscal and material, we can get. If they agree with and support SYRCL’s mission then they should become a member and get involved.

If you had one wish for the river, what would it be?

Return the watershed to its pristine, natural condition of 500 years ago.

Why is it important to protect the Yuba River?

Rivers and their watersheds are essential for life. We humans have long since separated ourselves from that riparian ecology but the plants and animals must still rely on the watershed for their lives. Polluted water negatively impacts all the species who have no choice but to drink from it and eat food grown in and around it. Providing for a pristine watershed is better for all of us over time.

Thank you, Rick– from SYRCL and everyone who enjoys the Yuba!

Rick is a proud SYRCL member. We invite you to join him and thousands of other amazing River People by becoming a member today. To find out more, visit our membership page or contact Lyndly at or 530-265-5961 x 220

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