SYRCL’s 2016 “State of the Yuba” address: our wild and scenic river

The South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) delivered its 3rd annual State of the Yuba address  in April to celebrate Earth Day and the Yuba River. Hear from SYRCL’s team about our current projects, challenges, recent successes and opportunities to get involved.

Our magazine featured the Yuba River in our fall 2015 issue in a special report. It included a history of the river, SYRCL’s activities, Yuba River “stewards” and pointed to the Yuba’s recreational benefits.

An excerpt: “Our region is known worldwide as home to Lake Tahoe, ‘the fairest picture the whole earth affords,’ as Mark Twain wrote in Roughing It. Tahoe is one of the oldest, deepest and purist lakes in the world.

“Lesser known, but also spectacular, is the wild and scenic South Yuba River, which originates at Donner Pass, near Soda Springs. The 65-mile river runs west, shadowed by I-80 and Old Hwy. 40. Then it flows into Lake Spaulding, plunges into a magnificent ravine and flows past the Little Town of Washington, historic Nevada City and Bridgeport on the way to Englebright Reservoir.

“In 1999, 39 miles of the South Yuba achieved ‘wild and scenic’ status under the California Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, thanks to the efforts of the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) and others. The Act was passed in 1972 to preserve ‘designated rivers possessing extraordinary scenic, recreation, fishery, or wildlife values.’ Other protected rivers include stretches of the American, Eel, Klamath, McCloud, Smith and Trinity.

Besides being one of America’s most beautiful stretches of water, the South Yuba is an “economic engine.” Each year, more than 750,000 people visit the Yuba’s deep emerald swimming holes, beaches and trails. Some of the Yuba’s swimming holes are rated among the world’s best, rivaling cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula, waterfalls and jade pools in Asia, and freshwater pools in Hawaii and the Caribbean.

The South Yuba has inspired famous poets, musicians and artists, such as Gary Snyder, who won a Pulitzer Prize with Turtle Island, or fiddler Alasdair Fraser, whose song “Whitewater” is an ode to the Yuba.

The 2016 “State of the Yuba” address is here:

(Photo: John M. Daly)

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