The Lake Berryessa News

Your Information Gateway to Lake Berryessa and our Napa Back Roads!


Lake Level Update: 2/9/15

The elevation of the spillway (Glory Hole) at Monticello Dam is 440 feet msl. The water is now 29.54 feet below the top of the spillway at 410.46 feet - a rise of 2.35 feet in 3 days.

Lake Berryessa has had 2.58 inches of rain this weekend at Monticello Dam for a total rainfall of 15.92 inches since 7/1/14.


It appears that the hard work of many, including the Lake Berryessa Chamber of Commerce and the Lake Berryessa News, in lobbying against the Beryessa Snow Mountain National Monument (BSMNM) proposal has had positive results. The new official map, released on February 5, 2015, has removed Lake Berryessa and its shoreline from the proposal!

Apparently the "Berryessa" designation remains in the title because the BLM land around Berryessa Peak is still included.

The other change to the map was political - and to be expected. The western parts of Glenn and Colusa counties have been put back on the map - including the rest of Snow Mountain Wilderness and the Mendocino National Forest – despite the strong opposition from the supervisors and residents of those counties. Since the National Monument designation can be created by a simple stroke of the president"s pen it doesn't matter what the local folks think. This makes the previous strong opposition to the designation by Glenn and Colusa counties politically irrelevant to the outcome. Democracy in action?

Ironically, the new national monument map and designation will have little or no effect on the economy of Winters - and especially not on Napa County. The Winters Chamber of Commerce paid good money for a flawed economic analysis that now has absolutely no relevance to the debate. The main benefit to Winters and to other local communities was, is, and always has been the re-opening of the Lake Berryessa resorts. This is moving forward with the release of the new Bid Prospectus in April.

One part of the proposed national monument accessible from Winters is the Berryessa Peak Trail - a grueling fourteen mile round trip hike that very few hikers ever attempt. And this takes a very long trip around the west shore of the lake up into the Knoxville area to reach the trailhead.

From Tuleyome's web site: "This is a hard one! To reach the summit of Berryessa Peak, you will hike approximately 7.25 miles, one way, with 3500-feet of elevation gain. There is only one way in and one way out of the public lands this trail provides access to, so bring enough water, food, and emergency medical supplies. If you pass off the public land, you will be trespassing, so use your map and GPS and stay on the trail! Only those in excellent physical shape should attempt to reach the summit of Berryessa Peak!"

Sounds like a treat for all those thousands of visitors supposedly to be lured here by a national monument designation.

Another local area still on the monument map is the nearly inaccessible Cedar Roughs Wilderness, located off Pope Canyon Road 2.2 miles west of the Pope Creek bridge – never expected to become a tourist destination.

The most accessible area included on the new map is BLM land at Stebbins Cold Canyon, which is a popular hiking area with beautiful views of Lake Berryessa. The trailheads are right at Monticello Dam and parking is at a premium on weekends. No national monument designation would ever have made a difference for this area - unless the government built a three story parking garage near Monticello Dam!

Despite these changes, my previous criticisms of this National Monument proposal are still valid. It is a geographically and ecologically incoherent patchwork of federal parcels. Look at the map - it is irrational! What process exists to make sure that National Monument designations actually meet the requirements of the Antiquities Act?

If enacted, the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument will deserve the title of "The Dumbest National Monument in the United States"

Download this map here...



The Lake Berryessa Chamber of Commerce has released its 2015 Directory

Click here for the online version...


Download a copy here or pick one up at a local Lake Berryessa business.

Click here to download a Directory (23 MB)

Click here to download a Chamber membership application.


A Quadcopter Trip to Check Out Low Water at Lake Berryessa, Dec 2014
14 Stops in 12 Minutes

If you want to see how low the water is at California's largest reservoirs, check out this great video that sums up the old question... Is the glass half full, or half empty?... in the case of the California water supply, less than 30% of capacity means neither. PLEASE LIKE & SHARE THIS VIDEO TO SPREAD THE WORD TO ALWAYS CONSERVE WATER.


Lake Berryessa Photos: Rainbows and Glory Holes

Quadcopter Shot from the Berryessa Highlands, December 4, 2014 by Evan Kilkus



Welcome to the Legendary Napa Valley!

Aerial Video by Evan Kilkus


Open Facilities

Markley Cove Resort, Pleasure Cove Marina, Steele Canyon Recreation Area, Spanish Flat Recreation Area and Putah Canyon Recreation Area continue to be open and offer a variety of recreation services. For information regarding operations and services offered at concession-operated facilities, please call the concession operators or visit their websites:

Markley Cove: 707-966-2134,

Pleasure Cove Marina: 707-966-9600,

Steele Canyon Recreation Area: 707-966-9179,

Putah Canyon Recreation Area: 707-966-9051,
For questions, please contact the Lake Berryessa Field Office at 707-966-2111 ext. 0.

Please visit the Lake Berryessa website at for additional information.


Carol Fitzpatrick has developed a great new Facebook for the Berryessa Valley History Exhibit at the Spanish Flat Village Center with some interesting photos and personal stories about the Berryessa Valley and Town of Monticello before the Monticello Dam was built in 1958.


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The Lake Berryessa News Archives (2005 - 2012)


Peter Kilkus, Owner/Editor
1515 Headlands Drive
Napa, CA 94558, 415-307-6906

Last Update on February 9, 2015

Copyright © 2015


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