The South Yuba River Public Safety Cohort, a multi-agency work group amongst its members as “The Cohort,” recently celebrated five years of meeting monthly to coordinate public safety efforts in the Yuba River corridor.
The Cohort, originally formed under former District 1 and District 4 Supervisors Nate Beason and Hank Weston, met annually to address public safety issues at Purdon Crossing. That annual meeting eventually became a monthly meeting, now hosted by District 1 Supervisor Heidi Hall and District 4 Supervisor Sue Hoek, where the Cohort serves as a roundtable, troubleshooting safety issues in the entire South Yuba River Corridor. Those issues include garbage in the river canyon, illegal parking, drownings, slow emergency response times due to lack of cellular reception at the river crossings, and more.
Participating agencies include the County’s Community Development Agency and Office of Emergency Services, Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, California State Park, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service – Tahoe National Forest, California Highway Patrol, CAL FIRE, Nevada County Consolidated Fire District, North San Juan Fire District, Washington Fire, and Rescue, as well as non-profit partners including South Yuba River Citizens League, Bear Yuba Land Trust, Sierra Gold Parks Foundation, Friends of Purdon Crossing, and Lake Vera Round Mountain Homeowners Association.
Some of the Cohort’s proudest achievements have included increasing support for the River Ambassadors, the partnership between SYRCL and State Parks that puts volunteers at each river crossing to help pick up trash and greet river visitors with friendly reminders about visitor etiquette, free dog poop bags, and assistance coordinating with first responders in the event of emergencies. Another accomplishment has been the placement of emergency call boxes at three of the river crossings so far – Purdon, Edwards, and the 49 Crossing – with more to come. Just two weeks after it was installed, the call box at Purdon helped save a life in a domestic violence incident.
The group has also increased parking fines, parking enforcement, and parking-related signage in an effort to prevent visitors from creating hazards by parking illegally. Vehicles parked outside of designated areas can block emergency vehicle access and, if parked on dry vegetation, risk igniting a wildfire.
The Cohort wishes everyone visiting the river a safe and enjoyable experience and reminds you that the Yuba is for everyone. As a state park (and, in some places, federal property), it is here for all of us to enjoy and to treat with care. Hike, swim, rest, and leave no trace.