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June 18, 2010

Dear Three Rivers Visitor:

We would like to talk frankly with you about our town’s namesake: the three rivers. Most likely, the Kaweah River is why you are here. It is certainly the principal reason why we live here. Read more...

The Kaweah River is sacred. It is the lifeblood of this community and serves as either the focal point or backdrop in everything we do. The residents of Three Rivers respect the river and understand its power. The river rules; we can never rule the river.

This time of year, river issues take precedence in all that most residents think about or do. Please know that the Three Rivers community wishes to share this awesome natural resource with you, but there is some critical information that you should know.

Most importantly, this entire community mourns when a visitor succumbs to the forces of the river. Whether it’s the witnesses, the heroic locals who will attempt to save you, the first responders, the volunteer ambulance crew, or even the newspaper staff who must convey the devastating story, many people are deeply saddened by such a tragedy. And multiple drownings occur in the Kaweah River every year. You must never, ever underestimate the power of this waterway or it will take your life away in an instant.

Also, even if the sight of the refreshing water proves irresistible on a hot day, please respect private property and “No Trespassing” signs. If you do properly access the river and spend time along its shores, please carry out what you carried in. This is an unincorporated community with no scheduled trash pickup or routine upkeep at local river sites. You were obviously drawn here by the unique beauty, so consider it your personal responsibility to keep the waterway pristine for the next visitor by properly disposing of your beer and soda cans, food containers, cigarette butts, and your children’s dirty diapers.

We sincerely believe that the County of Tulare has the responsibility to be the lead agency in providing you with a public river access site. After all, our local tax dollars all go to the County. Currently, Three Rivers has no organization to spearhead such a project. Certainly, all visitors would appreciate having parking, restrooms, public river access, trash cans, picnic tables and awnings, specific rules and regulations, and regular upkeep and maintenance, which could all be provided by Three Rivers tax revenue and visitor-use fees. Yes, we believe that it is well past time for the County to invest in Three Rivers.

And, finally, if you are a parent of a teenager from the Valley, we would like to ask the age-old question: Do you know where your children are? Because most likely, they will be coming to Three Rivers with their friends this summer. Please discuss with them (1) how to legally access the Kaweah River, (2) the life-threatening dangers of these waterways, and (3) the illegalities of underage drinking and the deadly consequences of drinking and driving.

Stay safe...

John and Sarah Elliott



THE KAWEAH COMMONWEALTH is published every Friday in Three Rivers, California.
EDITORS/PUBLISHERS: John Elliott and Sarah Barton Elliott
41841 Sierra Drive (Highway 198), Three Rivers, CA 93271
MAIL: P.O. Box 806, Three Rivers, CA 93271
(559) 561-3627 FAX: (559) 561-0118
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