Highway 4 Lake Closures – You can help!

Spicer Reservoir Road

Spicer Reservoir Road | Lisa Boulton

You will no doubt have heard by now that all roads leading to Spicer, Union and Utica Lakes were damaged by the extreme weather we’ve had over the last few months, leading to their closure. The US Forest Service estimates that these upper Highway 4 reservoirs will not be accessible until the end of 2018 at the soonest.

Attractions: White Pines Lake | Lisa Boulton

White Pines Lake | Lisa Boulton

In addition, a culvert at White Pines Lake was damaged at Blagen road with flooding and forest debris making it necessary to build a new bridge allowing access to parking, the Moose Lodge, beaches, ballpark and disc golf. The damage essentially makes half of White Pines mostly inaccessible. With increased visitation due to the closure of upcountry lakes, White Pines faces significant infrastructure problems this summer unless repairs are made immediately. Considering Lake Alpine’s history of reaching capacity during a normal summer we can only assume this year will be even more extreme. Given this reality, we need to make sure White Pines (our only other accessible upcountry lake) is in the best shape possible.

The Challenge:

These problems, unless resolved, constitute a major blow to summer tourism for Calaveras County. Lake recreation is hugely popular, and the majority of our lodging properties which bring in TOT dollars for Calaveras County and the City of Angels Camp’s general funds, are located along the Highway 4 corridor.

If these lakes are not fully accessible this summer, there is likely to be a significant impact on summer tourism resulting in loss of revenue not only to city and county governments, but also to restaurants, lodging, sports outfitters, retail and entertainment from Angels Camp east to Tamarack and beyond.

How You Can Help

1. Educate Your Team & Audience With What is Available

Here at the CVB, we’ve started educating visitors about the lower elevation lakes available for recreation – so expect to see an increase in visitation to New Melones, Lake Tulloch, Pardee, New Hogan and Camanche. However, these lakes are located far from the high country base that most who recreate on the upper Highway 4 lakes tend to use. We also must keep in mind that the lower elevation lakes may not appeal to Arnold area vacation home owners who visit in the summer specifically to enjoy upcountry lakes.

2. Reach Out to Our Local Congressman and Board of Supervisors

Once the full weight of the situation became apparent, our first course of action was to contact Congressman Tom McClintock’s office to outline the problem and urge him to bring his influence to bear on the USFS to expedite these road repairs due to the severity of their potential economic impacts.

We have yet to hear back from him, but there is a monthly staff satellite office scheduled for next Tuesday in which we, his constituents, can meet with his staff directly to talk about concerns. Our executive director, Lisa Boulton will be there. If you’re concerned about this problem, we would encourage you to attend to add your voice. Here are the details:

Lend your voice: Congressman Tom McClintock – Monthly Staff Satellite

Tuesday, May 23rd
12:30pm – 2:00pm
San Andreas Central Library
Chesebrough Room
1299 Gold Hunter Road
San Andreas, CA 95249

In addition, of course, we must address the problem at White Pines Lake. Located on county land rather than federal, it’s something our Board of Supervisors will be addressing. Lisa will be at the Board of Supervisors meeting next Tuesday, along with other members of the White Pines group to speak publicly about the necessity for the BOS to fund the necessary repairs quickly, before our summer season really gets underway.

We cannot wait for FEMA – this is urgent. If you’d like to be there to voice your support for this effort, you can speak publicly too, on the agendized item. Be at the Board of Supervisors at Government Center on Tuesday morning at 9:00 am, ready to lend your voice to the request for the BOS to vote in favor of releasing funds for repairs. Although the cost of repairs has been estimated to run to $150,000, the county is likely to recoup these funds from FEMA at a later date.

We hope to see you there! Here are the time & location details:

Lend your voice: Board of Supervisors Meeting

Tuesday, May 23rd
9:00 am start
Board of Supervisors Chambers
891 Mountain Ranch Road
San Andreas, CA 95249-9709

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  1. The closure of Spicer road will have a big impact on camping sites leaving those adjacent to Highway 4 as some of the better alternatives. They include Big Meadow, Lake Alpine, Highland Lakes, and Tamarack Lodge etc. Expect these to get filled up early after the snow has cleared out and Ebbetts pass is opened.

    Tamarack lodge will probably open up for camping in mid to late June as soon as the snow pack allows and the ground dries out a little. Campers will have access to Lodge facilities included in the camping fee.

  2. DONFRY says:

    Please mention to Congressman McClintock and the Board of Supervisors that the closure of all these lakes will be a huge adverse impact to probably the biggest employer in Ebbetts Pass, real estate sales.

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