Thousands celebrate River Day
About a thousand Truckee and Tahoe citizens turned out for Truckee River Day on Sunday to learn about the river’s ecology and rebuild damaged areas around the river and throughout the area.
“It’s amazing what people can do when they get enthused about what they’re doing,” said Truckee River Day Coordinator Janie Colcomb.
Colcomb was one of 200 people at Granite Flat Campground to participate in the booths set up by various agencies like the US Forest Service, local firefighters and conservation groups such as Truckee River Aquatic Monitoring and Nevada County Department of Agriculture.
The 22 booths displayed everything from microscopic creatures found in the river to the correct way to set up camp in the backcountry, and were part of an education program for children.
At 4 p.m., the highlight of the day’s event began as the children lined up to get Lahontan trout supplied by the Fish and Game department to help restock the river with the fish.
Sumer Ladd, 9, of Kings Beach managed to get two fish to release. She named them Little Man and Big Man, she said, before releasing them into the river.
Releasing the fish was her favorite part of the day, although she said she also learned about where water goes and looked into microscopes at “water bugs.”
But there was one booth she avoided – the booth where Smokey the Bear was taking pictures with families.
“Don’t tell him but I’m scared of him,” she said.
Larger projects put around 750 adults to work around the river and beyond. There were teams that helped restore the Martis Fire burn area, revegetated Coldstream Canyon and restored Trout Creek.
Truckee’s four whitewater rafting companies also got into the spirit by cleaning over 1,810 pounds of garbage from the river, said Tahoe Whitewater owner Mike Miltner.
Fred Zabell worked on a team of about 20 volunteers that redirected a trail in Prosser Creek.
“This is literally our backyard,” Zabell said, adding that he often uses his neighborhood trail for skiing, biking and hiking.
The multi-use trail was in bad shape because it ran below a spring that flooded it, Zabell said. The team filled in the damaged parts with vegetation and built a new trail above the spring.
Zabell said he was happy to see many of his neighbors working on what he called a “neighborhood project.”