The Yuba River Safety Cohort Takes Action to Protect Our River Community

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Nevada City, CA – The South Yuba River sees 800,000 visitors a year; if you’ve driven by a crossing this summer, you have seen packed parking lots and busy beaches.  Accidents at the river happen every day and a group of Nevada County government agencies and local nonprofits, known as the Yuba River Safety Cohort, have teamed up to keep our river community safe this summer with loaner lifejackets stations and free bandanas.  

A Collaboration for Safety

The Yuba River Safety Cohort is made up of County supervisors and staff, local and regional fire protection districts, law enforcement, state and federal agencies, local NGOs, and community representatives. The Cohort has been collaborating for four years in an effort to address public safety issues within the South Yuba River canyon such as access, parking issues, fire prevention, stewardship, and responsible use.

The Cohort meets monthly to discuss safety issues at the river, visitors, accidents, increased parking and signage for the public.  This group has worked together to keep wildfires out of the river canyon by making campfires and BBQ’s illegal at, and near, the river.  They have helped to increase public safety at river crossing by installing an emergency call box at Purdon crossing, as well as increased ticketing and parking fines to promote responsible and safe parking along the river.  During years with dangerous high water, the Yuba River Safety Cohort promotes safe use messaging to our community and visitors. 

Protecting Our River Community This Summer

This summer, the Cohort continues to keep us safe with new lifejackets stations and safety bandannas at the river. The Yuba River is dynamic with many chances for injury, or even death. Thanks to the Sea Tow Foundation, the Yuba River Safety Cohort was able to establish two free life jacket loaner stations on the Yuba River. The Sea Tow Foundation Life Jacket Loaner Program was started in 2008 and, since that time, over 60,000 life jackets have been made available across 42 states throughout the country.

Loaner life jackets are available for visitors at the Highway 49 Bridge and Hoyt’s Crossing, in addition to the life jackets stations found at South Yuba River State Park’s headquarters at Bridgeport Crossing. Each location has multiple life jackets in different sizes, ranging from infant to adult oversize. 

Using a life jacket can reduce the risk of fatality by up to 80% according to a study done by the University of Maryland Baltimore County and the U.S. Coast Guard from 2008-2011. In a river with changing patterns and flows, wearing a life jacket could mean the difference between life and death, whether you are swimming or boating.

Many river goers are from out of the area. To help inform visitors with safe recreation information like the lack of cell service and no glass or fires in the river canyon, the Yuba River Safety Cohort commissioned bandannas featuring a map of the river and rules to keep your family safe while recreating at the river. Thanks to the generous support of the Nevada County office of Emergency Services, Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, Bureau of Land Management, Tahoe National Forest USFS, Bear Yuba Land Trust, North San Juan Fiore Protection District, the South Yuba River Citizen’s League, State Parks and a myriad of others,  these bandanas are made free to the public and will be distributed by officers and rangers at the river this summer.

The Yuba River is a beautiful place to recreate, espeically in the summer, but it is not without risk. The Yuba River Safety Cohort wishes all Yuba visitors a happy and healthy summer, but most of all a safe experience.  Please, recreate responsibly and create only positive memories.

Know B4 You Go and Be Safe!    

SYRCL’s River Ambassadors will be helping to maintain life jackets and distribute safety messaging this summer. 

Interested in joining the River Ambassador team?
Contact Shannon Hedge at

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One Comment

  1. Mike Hardin says:

    If you guys are looking for opinions fro the locals about the way the Yuba River is being affected these days. This is a letter I sent to the state parks after hearing what happened at Purdon over the weekend. I hope the dangerous situation can some how be addressed.

    To Whom It May Concern,
    I am writing this letter to make you aware of a very serious problem at the Purdon Crossing and Edwards Crossing sections of the South Yuba River State Park. In the last couple of months there have been several occasions where emergency responders have had their access either limited or completely blocked because of too many cars parked on the windy, one lane, rutted, dirt mountain roads.
    If you google ‘best swimming hole in northern California’ the Yuba River 49 Crossing, and the two others that I mentioned, are some of the top listings that comes up. The Sacramento Bee and Sunset Magazine have listed these as best swimming holes as well. My point is the Dept. of State Park has literally hundreds, if not thousands of visitors coming to these sites that do not have the infrastructure to keep them safe. With the fear of recent fires in the foothills; these sites are perfect examples of having limited exit and access plans.
    I strongly suggest, if it hasn’t already, that the Dept. of State Parks conduct a study of the above mentioned sites and figure out how to make them safe.
    These are beautiful and natural environments that are being overwhelmed and made dangerous because of their lacking and remote locations.
    Truly concerned,
    Mike Hardin
    Nevada City, Ca.

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