River Ambassadors say, ‘Love the Yuba like a local’

With an estimated 700,000 visitors each year, the secret is out about this region’s gem of nature, the South Yuba River State Park. The Yuba is one of the most visited attractions in Nevada County thanks to its signature emerald green swimming holes and picturesque granite boulders. To keep the river from being “loved to death,” the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) and the South Yuba River State Park run an innovative River Ambassador

Program that’s designed to create a culture of stewardship at the Yuba River.

Now in its 7th year, the River Ambassador Program trains volunteer stewards to greet visitors at popular State Park river crossings during the summer. These River Ambassadors encourage environmentally responsible recreation through friendly conversation and education. The goal is to inspire visitors to take personal action to protect and preserve the Yuba.

“Our River Ambassador booths are incredibly welcoming. They feature interactive games and signage that promote responsible behaviors, such as removing trash, glass, and dog waste,” says Melinda Booth, SYRCL’s Executive Director. “Our goal is to keep the Yuba clean and protect the tiny feet and paws that explore our beaches and swimming holes.”

One of the missions of the River Ambassadors is to get visitors on board with five main “behaviors”:

  • Pack it in and pack it out
  • No glass at the river
  • Recycle your beverage containers
  • Pick up your dog waste – it’s a harmful pollutant
  • No fire at the river – there’s extreme wildfire risk in the South Yuba River canyon

River Ambassadors also act as model stewards by collecting litter and debris alongside the river. While many of us locals have long practiced good stewardship of our beloved Yuba, it can be a pleasure to meet and talk to the Ambassadors, who can be found at popular river crossings within the South Yuba River State Park through Labor Day weekend.

Want to share in the stewardship? To do the best possible job, the River Ambassador program needs close to 40 volunteers for the season to keep the Yuba clean, safe, and healthy at a high standard we can all enjoy. Interested in becoming a River Ambassador? You can attend the next training on Wednesday, July 11th. Sign up online or contact Siya Phillips at siya@yubariver.org or 530-265-5961, ext. 212. Mark your calendar for the 21st annual Yuba River Cleanup on Saturday, September 15th. For more information visit www.yubariver.org.