No boat passes at Lake Yosemite due to drought

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Families looking to go boating in Merced County now have one less option. Barricades are now blocking the boat ramps at Lake Yosemite near U.C. Merced. (KFSN)

Families looking to go boating in Merced County now have one less option. Barricades are now blocking the boat ramps at Lake Yosemite near U.C. Merced. It's a sad sight, but one county staff members say is necessary because the water level is so low. They're concerned about rocks and other obstacles that are dangerously close to the surface.

Parks and Recreation Deputy Director Bryan Behn said, "I've lived here my whole life, and I've never seen it this bad. It's definitely a hard decision we know how popular this place is for people to come visit, and to tell them now they're limited in what they can do and normally expect to do out here, it does hurt."


The manmade reservoir is usually filled when the Merced Irrigation District releases water from Lake McClure to serve its customers, but this year -- because of the historic drought -- no irrigation water will come from McClure which means no water flowing into Lake Yosemite.

The county recently announced it's not selling any boat passes to Lake Yosemite until further notice, resulting in lost revenue for the general fund, and disappointment for many residents. The lake's sailing association has also cancelled its annual spring regatta and other special events it puts on for the community.

Joselle Merritt said, "It's really sad, it's really sad that we're not going to be able to do that because I know lots of the college people I work with come out and spend summer time on the boats."

The county is also warning that swimming here could be dangerous because the shoreline now has rougher rocks and slippery soil since the beach doesn't extend all the way to the water. But families can still come out to enjoy everything else the park has to offer.

Behn added, "We've got ball field areas, picnic areas, and people still come out and fish and all that good stuff, so there's still a lot to do out here."



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california waterwaterdroughtmerced countyMerced County
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