South Yuba River Citizens League Co-hosts Town Hall Meeting to Save State Parks

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Historic Covered Bridge at Bridgeport, South Yuba River State Park (Photo: Dave Anderson)


December 8, 2011

Caleb Dardick, Executive Director, South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL)
265-5961 x207,

South Yuba River Citizens League Co-hosts Town Hall Meeting to Save State Parks

Grassroots effort to save two local state parks kicks off next Monday night (12/12)

Nevada City, CA – A grassroots effort to save two local state parks kicks off with a major Town Hall meeting next Monday night in Nevada City. Co-sponsored by the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL), several hundred community members are expected to attend the meeting to learn how they can take action to remove the South Yuba River and Malakoff Diggins State Parks from the list of state parks now slated to close on July 1, 2012.

“We will not stand by and allow these treasured parks to be abandoned by the state,” said Caleb Dardick, SYRCL’s executive director. “SYRCL is co-sponsoring this Town Hall to rally parks supporters to take action: Write the Governor and ask your state and county elected representatives to make saving the parks a priority. Years ago, the community rallied behind SYRCL’s motto that ‘People Can Save a River’ and won Wild and Scenic protection for the South Yuba River. Today, we’ll show how by working together, ‘People Can Save the Parks.’”

SYRCL and its colleagues from the South Yuba River and Malakoff Diggins Parks Associations are very concerned about how the closure plan might impact the community. To date, the State Parks Department staff hasn’t revealed how they plan to close the 20-mile park or protect the historic Bridgeport Bridge and Malakoff Diggins.

“Over 350,000 people visited the South Yuba River State Park in 2010.  If the current proposal for closing the State Parks is not corrected, many of these people would visit the Park to find the park’s visitor center and toilets closed, tours eliminated, and most concerning of all, no Park Rangers to manage law enforcement needs, emergency medical help and wildland fire problems,” said Dave Anderson, president of the South Yuba River Park Association (SYRPA).   “The two local State Parks are a vital part of our history and our community; they contain irreplaceable resources that would be endangered by fire, vandalism and theft.  The beauty and recreational value of the river may be severely diminished.  SYRPA is continuing to do all we can to support the local Park Rangers in finding ways to keep these areas safe and open to all park visitors.”

Local parks supporters are heartened by news that a grassroots effort succeeded in moving Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve off California’s 70-park closure list. Organizers at SYRCL are hoping to replicate that effort in Nevada County with a full-scale letter writing campaign to Governor Brown and visits to the State Capitol. Elementary school students from Grass Valley Charter School have secured meetings with Resource Secretary John Laird, and representatives for Assemblyman Dan Logue and Senator Ted Gaines Monday morning prior to the Town Hall meeting that evening.

Elizabeth Goldstein, president of the California State Parks Association, will join the panel discussion to provide a statewide perspective on efforts to save state parks. “Closing California state parks is bad for business, and many communities would be greatly affected by park closures,” said Goldstein. State Parks staff estimates that more than 350,000 people visit the South Yuba River State Park annually, for example, which in turn generates millions of dollars to support local businesses.

What:                    Town Hall on “The Fate of the South Yuba River and Malakoff Diggins State Parks”

When:                  Monday, December 12, 6:30-9:00PM (Live Broadcast on KVMR 89.5 FM at 7:00PM)

Where:                 Miners Foundry, 325 Spring Street, Nevada City []

Who:                     Panelists include: Matthew Green, District Superintendent, State Parks Department; Elizabeth Goldstein, President, California State Parks Foundation; Caleb Dardick, Executive Director, South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL); Alden Olmsted, Executive Director, Olmsted Park Fund

Guest speakers: Supervisor Hank Weston, Sheriff Keith Royal, Fire Chief Tim Fike, South Yuba River Parks Association President Dave Anderson, Malakoff Diggins Park Association President Tom Stark and other community representatives

Co-sponsors:     KVMR 89.5 FM,, Miners Foundry

About the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) and the South Yuba River State Park:

Throughout the 1990’s, SYRCL worked to secure both formal designation of the South Yuba River as a State Park as well as Wild and Scenic protection of the river, a designation that would protect the river from dam proposals.

With the support of hundreds of local businesses and thousands of residents, the California State Parks Commission unanimously voted to add the South Yuba River to the State Parks system on September 30, 1997. Since then, the State Department of Parks & Recreation has managed and protected these resources, which include the historic Bridgeport Covered Bridge, the Independence Trail – the first wheelchair accessible trail in the United States, more than 80 miles of hiking trails, unsurpassed whitewater kayaking and boating, fly-fishing and bird-watching, gold panning and the beautiful natural beaches that span its entire stretch.

In 1999, SYRCL was successful in securing protection for the South Yuba River under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act for 39 miles of the river. In passing this landmark legislation, SYRCL had amassed support from dozens of agencies, hundreds of businesses, and thousands of Californians.

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