Eastern Yuba County Residents Imprisoned by Unplowed Dirt Roads

March 16, 2023

CAMPTONVILLE — When a series of winter storms arrived in northeastern California over the past three weeks, the residents of Camptonville hunkered down to ride out power outages and roads being blocked by snow, just like all the other other towns in the region. However, PG&E eventually restored power and Yuba County snow removal workers did an excellent job of pushing the powdery white stuff off the streets of Camptonville.

This was not the case for the nearby residents of the Pendola extension area, just west of Camptonville. For almost three weeks, no one came to clear the dirt roads used by people living on isolated, heavily forested areas between Camptonville and the North Fork of the Yuba River.

Thus, early this week, multiple people who were stranded by the snow called a television station (KOVR-CBS13) in Sacramento to report that 20-40 people were running out of food and medication and could wait for help no longer.

As a result, the dangerous situation became publicized and sped up the process of opening the roads which Yuba County officials said would "eventually" have cleared the narrow, windy roads.

The problem, according to Yuba County spokesman Russ Brown, was caused by the fact the unpaved terrain along Baker Road, Garden Valley Road, a few other county roads in the area can not be plowed by equipment designed to clear paved streets and highways. "If we do," he said, "the machinery will tear apart the roads."

Moreover, Brown explained, "county-maintained" does not mean "county-plowed" and the affected roads are marked with signage indicating "Snow Not Removed Beyond Here".

Nonetheless, those affected by the situation are looking forward to meeting with their representive on the Yuba County Board of Supervisors, John Messick, later this month to discuss measures necessary to avoid incarceration during any future low elevation snow storms.

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