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Indulge that urge to tidy during river cleanup day

By: Julie Eng Journal Correspondent
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On the list of things you don’t want to share your local river with, soiled diapers rank pretty high. Unfortunately, diapers are just one of the many kinds of refuse that litter the shores of the American River. Fortunately, you can do something about it this weekend. On Saturday Auburn’s Protect American River Canyons, sponsored by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy’s Great Sierra River Cleanup, will kick off the 25th biannual American River Cleanup. Starting at 8 a.m., PARC officials and volunteers will begin collecting river litter. They’ll pick up everything from smashed computers and TVs to beer bottles and foam cups. This year there will also be a Canyon Keeper-led interpretive hike on the historic bridges and natural history of the Confluence Area. If you’re interested in volunteering, check in at the PARC info booth at the confluence area on Saturday to register and receive a trash bag, supplies and a map. Eric Peach, PARC conservation chairman, said there are several reasons the cleanup is so important. “With the tight budget we need to take more responsibility for our local parks,” Peach said. “This is one easy way for people to help.” He also mentioned that cleaning the river increases safety for all. “This is something that the whole family can do,” Peach said. You can also learn more about staying safe in the water at another PARC event on Sunday at Lake Clementine. For “Paddle Safety Day,” PARC teamed up with the Sierra Outdoor Center and Canyon Raft Rentals to provide free information on how to safely navigate the American River. Guy Cables, owner of the Sierra Outdoor Center in Auburn, said they supply boats for the event every year. This year they will bring a variety of kayaks, both inflatable and hardshell, to practice river safety techniques. “We do it to help out PARC,” Cables said. “And to help get people involved. Hopefully this will also draw some attention to the issue of potentially closing Lake Clementine.” The Journal recently reported on some Auburn residents’ concerns that a lack of funding would lead to gating lake access and removing docking. In addition to brushing up on your river safety rules, bring your kids for some Junior Ranger activities put on by the Canyon Keepers and the Auburn State Recreation Area. Michele Craig, a state parks interpretive specialist, and naturalists Roger and Sue Groghan of the Canyon Keepers, will lead several activities for Junior Rangers, including “Reading the Rapids,” “What Lives in Lake Clementine,” “Rocks of the River” and “Scat and Skulls.” Roger Groghan said they will have dip nets set up to catch macroinvertebrates. ------------------------------ American River Cleanup When: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19 Where: Meet at the Confluence Area in the Auburn State Recreation Area near the Highway 49 crossing What to bring: Gloves, a water bottle, and sturdy shoes Paddle Safety Day When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 20 Where: Upper Lake Clementine What to bring: $10 per car for the park entrance fee