County Pulse: Online reservations available at Woodward, Modesto reservoirs

A boater sails on Woodward Reservoir in Oakdale Calif., on Sunday, August 31, 2014.
A boater sails on Woodward Reservoir in Oakdale Calif., on Sunday, August 31, 2014. aalfaro@modbee.com

People wishing to camp near the lake can use an online service to reserve campsites at Modesto and Woodward reservoirs in Stanislaus County.

The county-operated regional parks have been added to ReserveAmerica.com, which is touted as the largest reservation service for campsites in North America. The online reservations for the two parks began Wednesday.

Full-hookup campsites are among the features at Woodward, north of Oakdale on 26 Mile Road, and Modesto Reservoir, east of Waterford off Highway 132. Woodward’s full-service campsites will be open to campers when improvements are completed in mid-May, county officials said.

Both reservoirs are meccas for swimming, boating, camping, fishing and picnics.

Jami Aggers, county environmental services director, said online reservations are a convenience for customers, and the local reservoirs are now featured alongside countless other parks on the popular website. ReserveAmerica says that millions of campers use the site to plan their trips and make reservations.

Aggers said there was no cost for the county to put the parks on ReserveAmerica.com. The site charges customers an $8 reservation fee on top of the cost for the campsite.

“It really puts us out there in the world of camping with lots of other facilities,” Aggers said. “We are trying to get on the map and market our parks.”

If you type “Modesto” into the search function, ReserveAmerica.com provides information about camping at Woodward and Modesto reservoirs along with the availability at Turlock Lake, Caswell, Hatfield, Tuttletown and other recreation areas in the region.

There’s no guarantee that online reservations will bring more visitors to the county parks. The county saw an increase in park visits last year, but only because of a slump the previous year attributed to drought and confusion about water levels, Aggers said.

No reservations are required for a second annual Easter Egg hunt March 26 at Modesto Reservoir. The family event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. will include the hunt and other festivities for children. There is no extra charge for the activities but vehicles are charged a day-use fee at the gate.

People can make online campsite reservations at www.reserveamerica.com or click on the “reservations” tab for Woodward or Modesto reservoir at http://www.stancounty.com/parks/reservoir.shtm.

SCIENCE OF AGING: Organizers promise an intriguing talk on the aging process Feb. 26 at the Modesto Junior College East Campus auditorium, 435 College Ave. The free lecture begins at 7:30 p.m.

Dr. Brian Kennedy, a biologist and chief executive officer of the Buck Institute, will discuss the science of aging and potential for extending the healthy years of life. Age is a leading risk factor for heart disease, cancer and other serious health problems. This field of research suggests the disease risk can be lowered by finding agents to slow the aging process.

Research at the Buck Institute in Novato was featured recently on a National Geographic series. Kennedy’s presentation is a public event offered by Modesto Area Partners in Science.

Ken Carlson: 209-578-2321