• A stator in the third powerhouse at Grand Coulee.
  • The penstocks above the water at Hoover Dam
  • The top of Shasta Dam in California
  • An automated gate structure on a canal in Washington.
  • An aerial photo of the sunsetting at Ruedi Reservoir in Colorado.


NAPA, Calif. – The Bureau of Reclamation’s Central California Area Office announces summer and fall 2012 interpretive programs and events at Lake Berryessa in Napa County, Calif. All activities will be held rain or shine and are free of charge. Attendees must RSVP for those events that have participation limits. Participants should wear sturdy shoes and clothing appropriate for the weather and bring plenty of water and sunscreen for daytime activities. Children of all ages are welcome, but those under age 10 must be accompanied by an adult.

Topic: Nature Hike - Summer Stroll on the Smittle Creek Trail
Dates/Times:   Saturday - July 21; Saturday - August 25; Sunday - September 16; and Saturday - November 10, 9:00 a.m. to noon.
Location: Smittle Creek Day Use Area Parking Lot
“It’s just a walk in the park,” but it can be so much more! Join a Park Ranger for a leisurely hike on the Smittle Creek Trail, along the western shoreline of Lake Berryessa. Enjoy a summer day and get some fresh air and exercise while learning about the natural and human history of the area on an easy-to-moderate 2.6-mile, one-way guided hike. The trail winds through a shady Blue Oak woodland, affording hikers scenic views and peaceful surroundings. All hikes begin at 9 a.m. at the south end of the Smittle Creek Day Use Area parking lot, off Berryessa-Knoxville Rd. Vehicles can be shuttled to the trail end point at Coyote Knolls within the Oak Shores Day Use Area. Bring at least two liters of water and snacks/lunch to enjoy during the hike. Space is limited, and reservations are required. To reserve a spot on the hike or for more details/directions, please contact Mike McGraw at 707-966-2111 ext 112 or mmcgraw@usbr.gov.

Topic: Paddling Berryessa
Date/Times: Friday, July 13, 6-8 p.m. (meet at Pope Creek Bridge Parking Lot)
Sunday, August 5, 9 a.m. to noon (meet at Eticuera Day Use Area)
Saturday, September 22, 9 a.m. to noon (meet at Foxtail Flat, Oak Shores Day Use Area)
Sunday, October 14, 9 a.m. to noon (meet at Foxtail Flat, Oak Shores Day Use Area).
Experience the beauty of Lake Berryessa from a unique perspective during several different Ranger-led paddling tours. Join a Park Ranger for fun 2- and 3-hour paddling trips, exploring various locations around the lake. Watch for bald eagles, ospreys, otters and other wildlife as the ranger introduces participants to the natural and human history of the lake. These outings are open to experienced swimmers with a kayak, canoe or other non-motorized boat. Coast Guard-approved life jackets will be available, but boats will not be available for rent. Participants should bring their boat, life jacket, paddles, sunscreen, hat, water and a lunch/snack. Pre-registration is required, and space is limited. For details/ directions, please contact Victoria Bevolden at 707-966-2111 ext 113 or vbevolden@usbr.gov.

Topic: History of Lake Berryessa and the town of Monticello
Date/Time: Saturday, July 28, 6-7 p.m.
Location: Meet at Dufer Point Visitor Center
Before there was a lake, there was a valley. The deep blue waters of Lake Berryessa now occupy a land where once farms, ranches and a small town existed. Who used to live here? How did they make a living? Discover how an agricultural-based community became a storage basin for a valuable resource supporting California’s growing population. For details/directions, please contact Scottland Roddy at 707-966-2111 ext 113 or sroddy@usbr.gov.

Topic: Welcome to the Neighborhood – Plants and Animals of Lake Berryessa
Date/Time: Saturday, August 11, 6-7 p.m.
Location: Meet at Dufer Point Visitor Center
Lake Berryessa is home to a variety of plants and animals – some have been around a long time, others have recently moved into the area. Get to know your plant and animal neighbors and how they all get along. Ranger Mike will discuss the benefits of native plants and animals and some of the problems associated with non-native species. For details/ directions, please contact Mike McGraw at 707-966-2111 ext 112 or mmcgraw@usbr.gov.

Topic: Before All Others – Native Americans and Lake Berryessa
Date/Time: Saturday, August 25, 6-7 p.m.
Location: Meet at Dufer Point Visitor Center
Long before the valley was filled with water to create Lake Berryessa, Native Americans called this area home. Join Ranger Al to explore the Native American history of the region and experience how native plants and resources were used. Demonstrations and a short walk along the Visitor Center Trail will showcase native plants and their uses. For details/directions, please contact Al Woodson at 707-966-2111 ext 113 or awoodson@usbr.gov.

Topic: Birding 101
Date/Time: Saturday, October 20, 9 a.m. to noon.
Location: Smittle Creek Day Use Area, Parking Lot (south end, next to the trailhead)
Having trouble telling a titmouse from a wren or a raven from a robin? This hike is designed to help participants make heads or tail feathers of the complex avian world. Join Ranger Todd for an informative bird-watching hike along the Smittle Creek Trail. Birders of all levels are welcome to attend this delightful hike. Bring binoculars, bird guides and, most of all, enthusiasm. This is an easy 1.5-mile round-trip hike (3/4 mile each way) with a slight elevation change. Attendees may choose to hike the entire 2.6-mile trail (5.2 miles round trip) after the program. For details/directions, please contact Todd Eggert at 707-966-2111 ext 113 or reggert@usbr.gov.

Topic: Berryessa Fall Bird Species Inventory
Date/Time: Saturday, November 3, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Location: Meet at Monticello Dam Overlook Parking Lot
Get a little exercise, learn some local history and tally Berryessa’s bird species all at the same time! Join Reclamation Ranger and bird enthusiast Todd Eggert to visit Berryessa’s three dominant vegetation regions – oak woodlands, chaparral and grasslands – to inventory the resident and migrant bird species. Participants will carpool or caravan the length of the lake, stopping for short walks. Experienced and beginning birders are welcome, with Ranger Todd assisting novices on the finer points of bird identification. For details/directions, please contact Todd Eggert at 707-966-2111 ext 113 or reggert@usbr.gov.

Topic: Roving Rangers
Dates: Saturdays and Sundays from Memorial Day to Labor Day
Location: Oak Shores Day Use Area and the Water Education Station
Keep an eye out for the Park Rangers at Oak Shores on summer weekends. Throughout the day, they will share games and fun presentations on water safety and the natural history of Lake Berryessa. Visit the Water Education Station in Oak Shores to learn more about the lake and borrow life jackets at no charge! Kids ‘caught’ wearing life jackets in or near the water can win prizes! The Water Education Station at Oak Shores is open 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on weekends, Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Topic: Displays and Exhibits
Dates: Summer Hours (Memorial Day weekend - Labor Day)
Weekends: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Weekdays: noon to 3 p.m. (closed on Wednesdays)
                      Winter Hours (Labor Day to Memorial Day)
Weekends: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Weekdays: noon to 2 p.m. (closed on Wednesdays)
Location: Dufer Point Visitor Center
Start your lake experience with a visit to the Dufer Point Visitor Center. Displays and exhibits might just answer the questions you have about the history of Lake Berryessa, the Monticello Valley and the construction of the Solano Project. Get to know the local wildlife (stuffed and mounted), including the common and not-so-common animals found around the lake. Park Rangers can answer questions about natural resources, recreational opportunities, wildlife and the area’s history. Brochures, maps, trail guides and other educational information are available free of charge.

Topic: Lake Berryessa Water Education Program
Date: Available upon request during October and November
Location: Oak Shores Day Use Area
The Lake Berryessa Water Education Program is an interdisciplinary learning experience for students in grades 4-6. The program integrates the natural resources of Lake Berryessa with California curriculum standards. Classes join a Park Ranger at the lake to learn about the importance of water in their lives. In addition to the on-site learning experience, a teacher packet is available with logistical information and pre and post-site activities. Berryessa Rangers are available to conduct pre-site classroom visits. For more details and a packet of information on the program, please contact Mike McGraw at 707-966-2111 ext 112 or mmcgraw@usbr.gov.

Topic: California Coastal Clean Up Day
Date/Time: Saturday, September 15, 9 a.m. to noon
Location: Pope Creek Bridge Parking Lot & Markley Cove Area
Join Reclamation, the Solano Resource Conservation District and partners for this annual lake and shoreline clean up event. Volunteers will clean up the shoreline of Lake Berryessa as part of the state-wide clean up event. Since the program began in 1985, over 800,000 Californians have removed more than 15 million pounds of debris from our state’s shorelines and coast. To volunteer, please contact Jason Jordan at 707-966-2111 ext 143 or jgjordan@usbr.gov.

Topic: C.A.S.T for Kids Foundation, Kids Fishing Event
Date/Time: Saturday, October 13, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Location: Pleasure Cove Marina
Reclamation, in partnership with Pleasure Cove Marina, is hosting the Fourth Annual C.A.S.T. (Catch a Special Thrill) for Kids Fishing Event. The C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation provides children with disabilities or disadvantages an opportunity to experience the sport of fishing. Kids will be partnered with fishermen for a morning on beautiful Lake Berryessa. Reclamation is looking for boaters, volunteers and children to participate in this great event. To volunteer or register a child, please contact Jason Jordan at 707-966-2111 ext 143 or jgjordan@usbr.gov.

Topic: National Public Lands Day
Date/Time: Saturday, November 3, 9 a.m. to noon
Location: Pope Creek Bridge Parking Lot
Help restore Lake Berryessa’s native landscape at this restoration event. Volunteers will plant native plants and trees and install birdhouses as part of an ongoing restoration effort. To volunteer, please contact Jason Jordan at 707-966-2111 ext 143 or jgjordan@usbr.gov.

Interpretive programs and events at Lake Berryessa tie into President Barack Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative (http://americasgreatoutdoors.gov/) which seeks to empower Americans to share in the responsibility to conserve, restore, and provide better access to our lands and waters and leave a healthy, vibrant outdoor legacy for generations to come.

Ranger-led hikes and activities at Lake Berryessa also support the Department of the Interior’s Let’s Move Outside initiative (http://www.letsmove.gov/lets-move-outside) which was created to encourage children and their families to enjoy outdoor activities, which abound in every city, town and community. Where better for the public to appreciate and enjoy the great outdoors than at a Reclamation facility like Lake Berryessa?

Individuals who would like to participate in a program and need accommodation should contact Park Ranger Mike McGraw at 707-966-2111 ext. 112 or mmcgraw@usbr.gov at least 14 days in advance of the activity.

For additional information, please contact Ranger Mike McGraw at 707-966-2111 ext. 112 or mmcgraw@usbr.gov, or call the Lake Berryessa Ranger Department at 707-966-2111 ext. 113, or visit the Lake Berryessa website at http://www.usbr.gov/mp/ccao/berryessa/index.html.

Released: July 18, 2012