Pinecrest, Beardsley lakes to show off new and improved attractions

Bee Staff ReportsMay 14, 2014 

Events to showcase improvements at the Pinecrest Lake Day Use Area and new and improved facilities at Beardsley Lake Recreational Area will be held Saturday.

The Stanislaus National Forest and partners Pacific Gas & Electric and the Tri-Dam Project are holding the opening ceremony at the Pinecrest Amphitheater, followed by three possible tours of the new facilities: Pinecrest Lake Marina, Pinecrest Amphitheater and Pinecrest Lake Fishing Pier. The event hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Pinecrest Amphitheater was built in 1964, making this year the 50th anniversary of what has become an icon of the Pinecrest Recreation Area.

One of the more popular tourist destinations in the Central Sierra, Pinecrest Lake Basin has about 300,000 visitors each year. Because of the high visitation, facilities have been renovated to meet the needs of day users, residents and campers alike.

Pinecrest is off Highway 108 about 40 miles northeast of Sonora.

At Beardsley Lake, campers, boaters and picnickers will find $5.8 million worth of new and improved attractions.

The Oakdale and South San Joaquin irrigation districts paid for the work as a condition of their federal license to generate hydropower at Beardsley and nearby Donnells Reservoir. Both are on the middle fork of the Stanislaus River.

A dedication ceremony is planned for 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at the new Black Oak Flat Campground. Officials from OID, SSJID and the U.S. Forest Service will be on hand. Light refreshments will be served.

Beardsley is about 7.5 miles north of Highway 108 in the Strawberry area of Tuolumne County. The projects include:

• Construction of Black Oak Flat Campground. It has 19 regular campsites and two family sites, a kiosk and self-pay system, restrooms and a water system. The fee is $20 per night.

• Upgrading of the Beardsley Campground, completed a year ago. It has 15 campsites, new water and sewer systems, and new fencing and paths. A gate, kiosks and self-pay fee station were built at the south end of the campground. Roads were regraded and repaved. The fee is $20 per night.

• Improvements to Beardsley Day Use Area, completed in mid-December. The day use area on the southeast edge of the reservoir has 14 new picnic areas, as well as new restrooms and a water system. An access point and interpretive trail were added from the parking lot to the beach. The U.S. Forest Service assisted in building the trail, as well as another to a vista point overlooking the lake.

• China Flat Day Use Area. OID, SSJID and the Forest Service teamed to add picnic tables, benches, signs and a kiosk at this space just west of the reservoir. The access road and parking lot were improved and about 1,000 tons of rock and debris removed from the site.

• Beardsley Boat Launching Facility. The former ramp was demolished in the fall, rebuilt and lengthened by 250 feet. A new access road was constructed and sidewalks and parking areas were added. Despite the extension, the ramp does not reach the water when the lake level is low because of the drought. Boaters still can hand-launch under some conditions.

For more information on Saturday’s events, call the Stanislaus National Forest Summit Ranger Station at (209) 965-3434 or go to www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/stanislaus/recreation.

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