Sonora, CA– The Stanislaus National Forest has issued a Forest Order imposing a camping restriction to the area surrounding Cherry Lake.
The order comes in response to health concerns related to the impacts caused by use of campsites near the lake located in the Groveland Ranger District.
The Forest Order prohibits camping from the waterline to 100 feet past the high water mark at Cherry Lake. Forest officials say that Cherry Lake boaters repeatedly use a limited number of primitive campsites heavily impacted by foot traffic, human waste deposits and litter.
Most of these campsites slope downhill, directly contributing sediment, trash and human waste into the water, degrading resources at locations around the lake.
The City and County of San Francisco holds the water right for the stored water in Cherry Lake, which is primarily used for hydropower generation as part of the Hetch Hetchy project. However, the water in Cherry Lake is also a secondary domestic water source that would be used during severe drought.
The California Department of Public Health regulates this domestic water supply to assure that the water is safe for human consumption. With portions of the shoreline littered with garbage and human waste material, Hetch Hetchy staff identified these boat-in campsites as a potential source of sediment and bacteriological contamination to the City and County of San Francisco water supply.
“I made a decision to issue a temporary Forest Order because it will help protect water quality and prevent shoreline resource degradation at Cherry Lake,” said Forest Supervisor Susan Skalski.
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