The Bureau of Reclamation’s Central California Area Office will delay certain scheduled recreation area openings, reduce hours and make other changes at New Melones Lake due to federal budget constraints.
Nanci Sikes, Executive Director for the Tuolumne County Visitors Bureau, was Thursday’s KVML “Newsmaker of the Day”.
Sikes is obviously concerned as to how long these cuts and delays will ultimately last and what this will mean for immediate regional tourism.
The Sequestration cuts will prevent New Melones Lake from hiring a dozen rangers.
Campers entering the park will now no longer be greeted by a ranger at the entrance gate for collection of park fees. Campers will now have to self pay before entering the park.
According to both Sikes and the Bureau of Reclamation, New Melones Lake will now continue to adhere to winter hours (rather than spring and summer) and without the rangers, the following parts of the park will remain closed until further notice:
•Within the Tuttletown Recreation Area in Tuolumne County: Manzanita Campground, Chamise Campground, Oak Knoll Group Camp and Heron Point Day Use Area.
•Within the Glory Hole Recreation Area in Calaveras County: Ironhorse Campground campsites 9-22 and 70-79, Big Oak Campground, Angels Creek Boat Launch and Osprey Point Day Use Area.
Additional operational adjustments include:
•Gate opening time for both of the lake’s recreation areas will be 4 a.m. with closing time at 10 p.m.
•The New Melones Visitor Center and Museum will be open Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will be closed Monday through Wednesday.
•New Melones staff will place all new requests for educational programs and all new land use authorization requests on a waiting list.
•New Melones staff will continue to process special use permits for events with fewer than 100 participants, including fishing tournaments.
Due to the continuing closures, camping reservations through April 30 have been relocated to the open camping areas or refunds have been provided per customer request.
To change an existing reservation or make a new reservation, please contact the National Recreation Reservation Service at 1-877-444-6777 or www.recreation.gov.
The “Newsmaker of the Day” is heard every weekday morning on AM 1450 KVML at 6;47, 7:47 and 8:47am.