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SYRCL Responds to Proposed Closure of South Yuba River State Park

MEDIA RELEASE

May 19, 2011

Contact:          Miriam Limov, RiverPeople Coordinator 530-265-5961, ext. 201

Jason Rainey, Executive Director, 530-265-5961, ext. 207

SYRCL Responds to Proposed Closure of South Yuba River State Park

On May 13th the California Department of Parks and Recreation  (“State Parks”) released its list of 70 State Parks slated for “closure” in September 2011 due to budget cuts. These cuts

Spring Wildflowers on the Buttermilk Trail, Bridgeport Crossing in the South Yuba River State Park (photo by Abigail Limov)

were mandated by AB 95, which was passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. in March. The list includes Malakoff State Park and the necklace of public lands that comprise the South Yuba River State Park.

“Since our founding in 1983, SYRCL has worked to build the South Yuba River State Park system. The closure of State Park’s has been threatened before, and SYRCL and our community

of volunteers and supporters is prepared to keep the Yuba River parklands clean, safe and enjoyable,” states Miriam Limov, SYRCL’s River People Coordinator, who leads the community-wide Greater Yuba River Clean-up in partnership with State Parks each September.

 

“These cuts are unfortunate, but the state’s current budget crisis demands that tough decisions be made,” said Resources Secretary John Laird in the media release issued by State Parks.

The South Yuba River State Park system includes lands and facilities at several of main river “crossings,” including Bridgeport, Jones Bar, the (John Olmsted) Independence Trail, Highway 49, Purdon and Edwards Crossings.

“With this announcement, we can begin to seek additional partnership agreements to keep open as many parks as possible,” stated Ruth Coleman, Director of California State Parks. “We already have 32 operating agreements with our partners – cities, counties and non-profits – to operate state parks, and will be working statewide to expand that successful template.”

SYRCL has been communicating with local State Parks officials about contingency planning and coordinating the efforts of the many organizations that partner with our local State Parks. SYRCL intends to coordinate a public meeting in the month of June to discuss the expected impacts from the closure, and to recruit and organize community support.

“Local staff from State Parks affirmed that closure is not yet a done deal, yet we feel its imperative to fully understand and plan for a “closure” scenario on the South Yuba.  Six years ago, after scores of public meetings, the public agencies completed the South Yuba River Comprehensive Management Plan.  That plan still provides goals and actions to protect the Wild & Scenic reach of the South Yuba, and SYRCL stands ready to work with the Parks and others to implement the plan, even under closure scenarios,” states Jason Rainey, SYRCL Executive Director.

It’s expected that “closure” in the case of the South Yuba River State Park would not restrict access to these public lands, but would likely exacerbate on-street parking problems and result in a reduction or elimination of services such as trash removal, portable toilets, interpretive programs, and patrolling for prohibited activities such as graffiti, summer campfires, and conversion of public forest lands into private marijuana plantations—all illegal activities that have occurred in recent years within SYR State Park lands.

While contingency planning for parks closure commences, the parks advocacy group California State Parks Foundation is organizing a letter writing campaign to state legislators and Governor Brown.  SYRCL encourages our members to send a message to decision-makers: sign the petition and be sure to include a detail about the threats of closure, and how the South Yuba River State Park serves the economic, recreational and environmental needs of our community.

SYRCL (pronounced “circle”) is the leading voice for the protection and restoration of the Yuba River and the Greater Yuba Watershed. Founded in 1983 through a rural, grassroots campaign to defend the South Yuba River from proposed hydropower dams, SYRCL has developed into a vibrant community organization with over 3,500 members and volunteers based in Nevada City, CA.

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