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Mid-Pacific Region
Sacramento, Calif.
Media Contact:
Pete Lucero
916-978-5100

Released On: March 05, 2010

Reclamation Announces Spring 2010 Interpretive Programs at New Melones Lake in California

The Bureau of Reclamation invites you to join us this spring for informative evening programs and fun weekend activities.  The programs consist of a speaker series, a set of hikes, and other activities.  Together we will explore the history and diversity of nature around New Melones Lake, located approximately 60 miles east of Stockton, California.   Map

In the Spring Speaker Series, speaker presentations begin at 7:00 p.m. at the New Melones Lake Visitor Center & Museum, 6850 Studhorse Flat Road, Sonora, CA  95370.  The events are free of charge, and no reservations are needed.  For the Spring Hikes, see listings below for locations, times, and instructions.  Bring plenty of water and wear clothing appropriate for the weather.  All hikes are weather permitting and free of charge; no reservations are needed.  We look forward to seeing you there!


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Spring Speaker Series:  "Mushrooms of the Mother Lode"
Thursday, March 4, 2010, 7:00 p.m.
Presented by Hilary Maxworthy, Park Ranger

Join Park Ranger Hilary in discovering some of the fungi around us.  Learn about their importance, life cycles, identification, habitats, beauty, and dangers.


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Spring Activity:  "Mushrooms of the Mother Lode"
Saturday, March 6, 2010, 10:00 a.m.
Table Mountain

Join Park Ranger Hilary in hunting and identifying some of the mushrooms in our back yards.  Learn about their importance, life cycles, identification, habitats, beauty, and dangers. Wear clothing that can get dirty, and don't forget snacks and plenty of water.

  • DIFFICULTY:  We will search for fungi along the easy 1 to 2 mile trail that leads to the base of Table Mountain.  Participants will then have the option of returning on their own or joining the ranger for a climb to the top of Table Mountain to enjoy the grand view of New Melones Lake.
  • INSTRUCTIONS:  Meet at the corner of Shell Road and Rawhide Road at 10:00 a.m.  Alternatively, participants are welcome to meet the ranger at the New Melones Lake Visitor Center and Museum at 9:00 a.m. and follow the caravan.  We will leave promptly at 9:00 a.m., so please don't be late!

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Spring Speaker Series:  "Tour of the Night Sky and Universe with Telescopes"
Thursday, March 18, 2010, at Dusk
Presented by Denise Combs, Amateur Astronomer

Local amateur astronomer Denise Combs and friends will present spring constellations, sky movements, and other deep sky objects - perhaps we'll see distant galaxies, nebulae, or global clusters!  Join us and watch the moon set, allowing dark skies for optimal viewing!  Bring your telescope if you have one!  Meet at dusk in the New Melones Lake Visitor Center & Museum parking lot.  Please wear warm clothes and bring a flashlight.  This event is subject to weather and viewing conditions permitting.


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Spring Hike:  "Trails of Discovery and Recovery"
Saturday, March 20, 2010, 9:00 a.m.
New Trails in Tuttletown

Experience first hand how some of American Recovery and Reinvestment and (ARRA) dollars are being utilized at New Melones Lake.  Join Ranger Emerald for an exciting walk along one of our new trails in Tuttletown.  Learn about the ARRA improvement projects, the new trails being built, and what you can do to help keep them in good condition for generations to follow.

  • DIFFICULTY:  This is a family-friendly hike, about 1 to 2 miles, easy, with a few short steep areas.
  • INSTRUCTIONS:  Meet at the Tuttletown Entrance Station at 9:00 a.m.  Participants will receive a parking pass for the duration of the event.  We will caravan down to the trailhead parking.

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Spring Speaker Series:  "Invasive Species"
Thursday, April 1, 2010, 7:00 p.m.
Presented by Hilary Maxworthy, Park Ranger

Invasive species are classified as any plant or animal that is not native to an area and whose introduction causes or is likely to cause harm to the economy, the environment, and/or harm to human health.  Invasive species often "out-compete" native species, causing an imbalance in the native ecosystem.  In extreme cases, recreation managers may choose to close certain recreation areas or entire facilities in an effort to restore native habitat.  Join Ranger Hilary for an up-close look at the potential threats facing New Melones Lake, including quagga and zebra mussels.  Learn how these invasive species travel from one area to the next and what you can do to help keep them from spreading. 


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Spring Hike:  "Identifying the Flora of Natural Bridges"           
Saturday, April 3, 2010, 10:00 a.m.
Natural Bridges

Hike along with Ranger Hilary to discover the diverse plant communities along the Natural Bridges Trail.  Learn how to identify the floral communities of Natural Bridges.

  • DIFFICULTY:  This is a moderate-to-strenuous downhill hike, 1.5 miles roundtrip.  Participants may return uphill on their own.
  • INSTRUCTIONS:   Meet at the Natural Bridges trailhead on Parrott's Ferry Road.  Alternatively, participants are welcome to meet the ranger at the New Melones Lake Visitor Center and Museum at 9:00 a.m. and follow the caravan.  We will leave promptly at 9:00 a.m., so please don't be late!  Just a reminder, no dogs are allowed on the trail to Natural Bridges. 

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Spring Speaker Series:  "The Struggle for the Stanislaus"
Thursday, April 15, 2010, 7:00 p.m.
Presented by Friends of the River Volunteer Kurt Stegen

Join Kurt Stegen as he presents both sides of the struggle, those who wanted the Stanislaus to remain wild and scenic versus the crucial need for more water to support California's growing economy.  Watch the historic video, Parrotts Ferry is the Limit, and a slide show of historical photos that document the struggle from the early beginnings to the dedication of New Melones Dam in July 1979.


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Spring Hike:  "Ranger's Choice"
Saturday, April 17, 2010, 9:00 a.m.
Buck Brush Trail

Come join Ranger Cindy for an exciting walk along the Buck Brush Trail.  A fun and educational morning awaits you.  Enjoy the walk and learn a little more about the diversity of New Melones Lake.

  • DIFFICULTY:  This is an easy family-friendly hike, about 1 mile, with a few short steep areas.
  • INSTRUCTIONS:  Meet at the Glory Hole Entrance Station at 9:00 a.m.  Participants will receive a parking pass for the duration of the event.  We will caravan down to the trailhead parking.

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Spring Speaker Series:  "Wildflowers of New Melones Lake"
Thursday, April 29, 2010, 7:00 p.m.
Presented by Hilary Maxworthy, Park Ranger

More than just beautiful, wildflowers have unique traits and characteristics that make them different from the flora around them.  Join Park Ranger Hilary in identifying some of the wildflowers that blanket the Mother Lode this time of year.


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Spring Hike:  "Wildflowers of New Melones Lake"
Saturday, May 1, 2010, 10:00 a.m.
Angels Creek Area

Join Park Ranger Hilary on a 2.5-mile hike near Angel's Creek.  We will identify some of the many wildflowers that blanket the Mother Lode this time of year.  Wear sturdy hiking shoes and don't forget to bring snacks and plenty of water. 

  • DIFFICULTY:  This is a 2.5-mile hike of medium difficulty.  There are a few inclines and descents, but mostly gentle rolling hills.
  • INSTRUCTIONS:   Meet at the Glory Hole Entrance Station at 10:00 a.m.  Participants will receive a parking pass for the duration of the event.  We will caravan down to the trailhead parking.

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Spring Speaker Series:  "Birds of New Melones Lake"
Thursday, May 13, 2010, 7:00 p.m.
Presented by Hilary Maxworthy, Park Ranger

Join Park Ranger Hilary in discovering the wonderful world of bird watching.  Discover which bird species inhabit some of the outlying areas that surround New Melones Lake.  Learn to identify groups of species, flight patterns, calls, and songs.  Discover how important birds are to our existence.


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Spring Activity:  "Birds of New Melones Lake"
Saturday, May 15, 2010, 10:00 a.m.
Table Mountain

Join Park Ranger Hilary in discovering the wonderful world of bird watching.  Learn how to keep bird feeders, identify groups of species, flight patterns, calls and songs.  Discover how important birds are to our existence.  Please bring binoculars if you'd like and don't forget snacks and plenty of water! 

  • DIFFICULTY:  We will search for bird species along the easy 1 to 2 mile trail that leads to the base of Table Mountain.  Participants will then have the option of returning on their own or joining the ranger for a climb to the top of Table Mountain to enjoy the grand view of New Melones Lake.
  • INSTRUCTIONS:  Meet at the corner of Shell Road and Rawhide Road at 10:00 a.m.  Alternatively, participants are welcome to meet the ranger at the New Melones Lake Visitor Center and Museum at       9:00 a.m. and follow the caravan.  We will leave promptly at 9:00 a.m., so please don't be late!

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Spring Hike:  "Ranger's Choice"
Sunday, May 30, 2010, 10:00 a.m.
New Melones Dam Overlook and Peoria Basin

Come join Ranger Cindy for an exciting walk to the New Melones Dam Overlook.  A fun and educational morning awaits you.  Enjoy the walk and learn a little more about New Melones Lake.

  • DIFFICULTY:  This is a moderate-to-strenuous hike, 3 miles roundtrip, with a steady 1/2 mile climb to the overlook.
  • INSTRUCTIONS:  Meet at the Peoria Wildlife Equestrian Staging Area on Peoria Flat Road at 10:00 a.m. Alternatively, participants are welcome to meet the ranger at the New Melones Lake Visitor Center and Museum at 9:00 a.m. and follow the caravan. We will leave promptly at 9:00 a.m., so please don't be late!

For more information, stop by the New Melones Lake Visitor Center & Museum or call us at 209-536-9543. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and closed Mondays and Tuesdays. You may also check our website  If you would like a copy of our Spring Interpretive Calendar e-mailed to you and/or to be added to our e-mail list, please e-mail tneal@usbr.gov.  New Melones Lake is managed by Reclamation, Mid-Pacific Region's Central California Area Office.   Map

If you would like to participate in any of these events and need special accommodations, please contact Park Ranger Tracy Neal at least 14 days in advance at 209-536-9094, extension 215 (TTY 800-877-8339) or e-mail tneal@usbr.gov.  

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at www.usbr.gov.