I am pleased that Sen. Barbara Boxer has introduced a companion Senate bill to designate the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Conservation Area following Rep. Mike Thompson’s introduction of a House bill. This designation will be important to Lake Berryessa.

Until now, those who enjoy Lake Berryessa have primarily come for the boating. With new facilities and campgrounds (once we finally get them) and with plans for various trails at the lake and on adjacent public land, there is an opportunity to diversify the recreational activities and the market for the lake.

A National Conservation Area designation will help to attract those interested in nature and nature-based recreation. According to the Outdoor Industry Foundation, active outdoor recreation (such as hiking, paddling, camping, wildlife viewing, birding and biking) contributes $46 billion to the California economy, is responsible for 408,000 jobs, and generates $31.2 billion in local revenue. Access to public land is a boon to rural areas of the state that rely on natural resources to attract visitors.

Rural areas like Lake Berryess can take advantage of that.

Thus far, it has been challenging to convince people interested in these forms of recreation to try Lake Berryessa. It has long been known as primarily a motor boat lake, which has discouraged those seeking slower and quieter recreation from coming here in large numbers. The number of kayakers is growing, but slowly.

How can we encourage the nature-based recreation crowd to come? National Conservation Area status would be a start by helping to redefine this area in a positive light.

The key will be to ensure that when they do come, those interested in quieter, slower forms of recreation find the experience they want and are not disappointed. At 19,000 surface acres, Lake Berryessa is large enough to accommodate different types of use. Swimmers and paddlers should be made to feel that this lake is also for them.

These days, a bad experience can generate criticism that reaches thousands of like-minded “friends.” A weekend visit with a nice campsite, good food and a relaxed, enjoyable paddle on the lake can also circle among like-minded friends, causing more people to come visit the lake. We need people to come, like what they see, and come back with their friends.

We need to let go of the past and step into the future. The heightened profile of National Conservation Area status would bring new facilities for the public, trails, and a lake that welcomes swimmers, hikers, paddlers and motor boaters. The recreational and economic future of Lake Berryessa is basically ours to win. Let’s make sure we do that.

Wallin lives in Napa.

(11) comments

gettingreal
gettingreal

The greenies have hundreds of state and national parks with thousands of lakes suited for kayaking. We pay taxes too. Can't we keep one man made lake for power boats?

glenroy
glenroy

Gar….Lake Berryessa was a blue collar lake too for the time, not to say there weren’t wealthy users…but back when this was a blue collars town hundreds of kids and parents would head up to the lake on hot days and there were weekends with over 100,000 users at the lake… they don’t get that many all summer now.

garretth37
garretth37

A few years ago went to Branson, MO. went to the really nice lake, just like Lake Berryessa it was a valley that had its river dammed up. Water used for farmer and towns, the lake is a wonderful place to camp, rent a cabin or a rooms, even a house. You could afford to buy a place and live part or the whole year. Very much working blue collar types, I don't like to fish or hunt but I can understand why you have people going there. To relax, spend time with friends and family or just have special time. Are we going to expect someone who comes here to walk in nature, go bird watch while they could be going up and down 29 in a limo eating and drinking.

fmmt47
fmmt47

Yeah, the NCA designatin will do a lot for the area; it will end up as another fiasco under the BLM.. Why are people continually celebrating the fact that government is continually expanding control of our lands?

aroseisarose
aroseisarose

What "nature-based" actitivies? It's a reservoir with very limited swimming and unlimited google-horsepowered speedboats and jet skis.

TeamWork
TeamWork

Wendy, with all due respect....you state, "Thus far, it has been challenging to convince people interested in these forms of recreation to try Lake Berryessa.  It has long been known as primarily a motor boat lake, which has discouraged those seeking slower and quieter recreation from coming here in large numbers.  The number of kayakers is growing, but slowly".

I'm not sure how you think changing the name of the lake to "Berryessa Snow Mountain National Conservation Area" will change the use of the lake, making it slower and quieter?  Unless the "USE" currently designated for the lake also changes with the legislation?  Which is your goal!

My family and I live at the lake on "private property" and have been enjoying the lake and surrounding area for over 25 years.  Including-boating, paddling, rafting, tubing, swimming, fishing, skiing, wake boarding, hiking, bird watching, wildlife, open space, tours with Quail Ridge, picnics, BBQ's, camping and many community events, etc.

TeamWork
TeamWork

To sell an "NCA" designation to the people is wrong.  It is a tool that is being abused for special interest to collect funds for trails, restrictions, and studies.  It is a tool to lock down resources/land and any future potential this area may have for future generations.  It in no way will drive the economy in the sense you explain here.  This is a falsehood.  Manipulating a system within our government to get your slower and quieter recreation funded with tax paying dollars is pathetic..........shame on you!  To think Mike Thompson, Barbara Boxer and the others actually support this is irresponsible to say the least. 

glenroy
glenroy

Absolutely...TW...

Thompson acts like he's making an effort to fix what he helped ruin but it's just to keep fooling his base, which isn't hard btw. Most of the residents up there know too well the UCD supervisors and Thompson are Pelosi Democrats...either ignorant or corrupt, perhaps both.

If you like the Lake now then more government for government will make you happier since your job is probably living off the rest of us.

PKilkus
PKilkus

No reasonable recreation professional believes kayaking is a significant market at Lake Berryessa, nor is "nature-based" recreation an important economic stimulus to an area like Lake Berryessa which is already a recognized recreation destination. This is simply another version of the "Big Lie" that exclusionist groups like Berryessa Trails and Conservation, Tuleyome, and the Napa Sierra Club have perpetrated over the years to shut down the lake to families and motorized recreation. They eliminated the use of the 5 MPH zone at Big Island Lagoon to families and other boaters a few years ago and NO kayakers showed up.

The Lake Berryessa Chamber sent letters to all the kayak groups in the northern California region encouraging them to come to Lake Berryessa since the number of motorboats at the lake dropped dramatically when the BOR shut down and demolished most of the resorts. There was plenty of room and many kayak launch sites. No response. This NCA will have NO positive impact.

glenroy
glenroy

Indeed 'the' club behind the ruin of Lake Berryessa.....the club that sues businesses when they try to expand...the club that kills private sector jobs.

The Sierra Club....

Lberryessa
Lberryessa

Wendy, you didn’t mention the fact that you’re a member of the Sierra club and their agenda is to remove power boats from Berryessa. Lake Berryessa Chamber of Commerce attempted to promote kayakers on Berryessa and they didn’t come. There are thousands of other lakes and rivers in California for kayaking that don’t have to compete with loud disgusting fossil fuel burning power boats and let’s not forget about those annoying jet skis. You really don’t care if kayakers come; you just want power boats restricted to the point that the lake will be useless to us. Why don’t you just say that?

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