NEVADA COUNTY (CBS13) — With limited things to do this summer, more people are getting outside. But at the Yuba River, the South Yuba River Citizens League says even that may be getting out of hand.
When you mix summer heat and a global pandemic, communities across California are left parched. People like Kelea Kai, from Sonoma County, thirst for any chance to get outside, swim and play.
"There's just something magical about it – how crystal clear it is," Kai said. Her family comes to the Yuba River in Nevada County every year. This year the family chose to schedule their trip during the week.
"I know it's even busier on the weekends," Kai said.
Still, many other people had the same idea. Locals say parking lots have been as packed as they would be on busy holiday weekends.
"It seems like we have a lot of people out here from the Bay Area on a whim," said Nevada County local, Daniel Sheridan. "A lot of families."
With no other options, more are turning to nature. Melinda Booth, the executive director for the South Yuba River Citizens League said people have not been too kind lately.
"They often make poor decisions," Booth said. "You see people parking illegally and blocking the road."
But that's just the start of it. Photos shown to CBS13 depict the piles of trash many leave behind. The Yuba River area, Booth said, isn't even ideal for isolation.
"Trails in the canyon are very narrow," Booth said. "There's no way to actually adhere to social distancing."
Booth and the league are now urging crowds to calm down. Booth estimates traffic at the river is likely 25% higher than normal. At this point, there aren't plans to shut down parking lots to visitors as other areas have done. But Booth said she hopes the county doesn't have to get to that point.
"If you have somewhere else to go, we suggest maybe Yuba isn't the best place right now because of these impacts," she said.
But locals like Sheridan say it's okay, as long as people stay safe.
"We absolutely invite tourists with open arms, but we just ask you have respect for Mother Nature," Sheridan said.
All hope others follow their example, by 'Loving Yuba Like a Local."
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