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BOR Opens Natural Bridges Trail, Tuttletown Day Rec And Camping

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Sonora, CA – New Melones recreaters now have access to two more popular spots.

Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) officials confirm that following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and local public health authorities, it is increasing recreational access to facilities it manages by the reservoir using a phased approach with COVID-19 public health and monitoring protocols in place.

As of Tuesday, the Tuttletown Recreation Area opened for camping and day-use along with the Natural Bridges trail and its associated parking area. However, as parking is limited, officials stress that when parking capacity is full, no further visitors will be allowed.

Even when Natural Bridges or the parking area off Parrotts Ferry Road, marked by a brown sign, were closed due to concerns over the pandemic they were regularly being accessed by the public. The popular two-mile round trip hike leads visitors to limestone caverns carved out by Coyote Creek, which feeds into New Melones.

Although no serious injuries were reported over the closure period, Calaveras County sheriff’s officials confirm that during the first day of its reopening yesterday, a 20-year-old male fell near the bottom of the trail and suffered a lower leg injury that required a ground ambulance transport for hospital treatment.

Officials note that camping requires a reservation. For details on reserving a campsite, click here or call 209 536-9094. The marina continues to be open for business. Customers should call it directly for more information at 209 785-3300. Visitors are being advised that primitive restrooms may not be fully supplied with hand soap or hand sanitizer, so bring your own and follow CDC guidance on physical distancing and enhanced hygiene protocol to prevent disease spread.

Additionally, the lobby to the New Melones Lake Visitor Center and Museum will be open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, which allows visitors to purchase interagency, annual day-use and boat-launch passes. However, the museum portion of the visitor center remains closed at this time. Please note that building capacity limits are in place in keeping with state facility reopening guidelines.

Still closed to the public are the Glory Hole Recreation area campgrounds and day-use areas, fish cleaning station and RV dump station, and the Tuttletown RV dump station along with the New Melones Administration Office and, as mentioned above, the visitor center museum exhibits.