Lake Berryessa North End Trail opening on National Public Lands Day, Saturday, Sept. 25

National Public Lands Day is a nation-wide annual event that promotes volunteerism and stewardship on public lands.

I attended a pleasant event yesterday at the Eticuera Day Use Area at the north end of Lake Berryessa. The celebration was sponsored by Tuleyome and the Bureau of Reclamation to mark the dedication of the North End Trail. The trail had been refurbished and improved as a joint project by Tuleyome and the Bureau of Reclamation.

Margaret Bailey, Reclamation’s Lake Berryessa Manager, hosted the event. Speakers included Napa County Supervisor Diane Dillon; Lee Mao, Reclamation Deputy Area Manager; Andrew Fulks, Tuleyome Board member; and Carol Kunze, Tuleyome Trails Coordinator.

Margaret Phil edited-1
Diane edited-2

Carol Kunze edited-1

I also met the Tuleyome mascots - Berry and Essa - cute mother bear and cub.

P Berry Essa1 edited-1
Berry Essa edited-1



North End Trail map


Bill Ryan, author of the St. Helena Star's "Fishing Is My Day Job" column since 2002, died last week. 

It is with sadness that I report that I report Bill’s death. Bill was a vocal supporter of Lake Berryessa and often quoted Lake Berryessa News items in his column. He also had many suggestions as to how to improve the lake to attract the big money bass tournaments that usually went to Clear Lake.

He wanted any new company that took over the Lake Berryessa resorts to make bass fishing a priority in their plans to revitalize the lake. One of his ideas was to make Lake Berryessa attractive to more bass tournaments by catering to the families of the anglers by offering superior lodging and recreation amenities only a half hour from the world famous Napa Valley.

In one note to me he said, “Berryessa is still one of the top rated bass waters in America by Bassmaster Magazine. Nearby are Clear Lake (top rated) and the Delta (also highly rated). So professional anglers know how to get here... BUT, they quit on Berryessa because it was a dull place with nowhere to eat or sleep – or recreate. Nobody said, “Welcome, we’re glad you are here…”

Bill was also a proponent of attracting more high school and college bass fishing team tournaments to Lake Berryessa. I was surprised at how many of those actually exist.

Hopefully Bill’s goals will be included in Sun Communities’ plans for the renovation of Steele Canyon RecArea, Spanish Flat RecArea and Monticello Shore RecArea.

Bill Ryan


Here's a vintage photo of Sugar Loak Park (now Arco's Storage). Those old Cadillacs with the spear rear fenders were a danger to us kids riding bikes on the streets of Chicago. Many other car models had those sharp things aimed at us as we zipped by.

Sugar Loaf Park Historical edited-1


 Lake Level as of September 26, 2021

The Lake Level is at 402.5 feet, 37.5 feet below Glory Hole. Rainfall this season is at .05 inches. Water temps are holding steady at 75 degrees.

Screen Shot 2021-09-25 at 8.11.44 AM


Coastal Clean-Up Day at Lake Berryessa

by Lucie Hock, Treasurer, Monticello Ski Club


We had a great turn out at Steele Canyon Saturday morning and we got the job done! We had 24 volunteers show up for this year’s Coastal Clean Up. BOR was delighted with our support for the clean up again this year ! Thank You to everyone who showed up this morning to help clean the beaches at Steele Park Recreation Area and Willi's Cove! Lots of hard work, but lots to show for our efforts.

We collected 408 pounds in recyclables and another 1,167 pounds of trash. WOW !!! And that did not include the stacks of chain and cables that we cut and dragged up from the beaches. This year was a success and the Steele Canyon beaches look great !

We all worked hard, but we all had fun too. Thank You again to everyone who volunteered ! Great support for Monticello Ski Club!  The MSC people are the best.  I cannot think of another group of people that would rally together in these numbers to work as volunteers on a project like this one.

Clean-up Crew
Coastal Clean-Up Trash


Life After Labor Day - Summer Ends With Low Water But High Hopes!

Sun Communities Chosen To Revitalize Three Lake Berryessa Resorts

You've all heard of Sun Communties, the $5.6 Billion dollar, publicly-traded corporation that operates hundreds of resorts, marinas, and mobile home parks in North America with a portfolio of 522 manufactured home communities, recreational vehicle resorts and marinas located in 39 states and Canada and actually has a local 55-plus community on Orchard Avenue in Napa? You haven't? Well most people have never heard of them either.

You can catch up by reading the public information from their website I provided on Page 2 of this edition.  Also peruse their website  at www.suncommunities.com/. 

Don’t be confused by their emphasis on manufactured  home communities and the buying and selling of manufactured homes. Sun Communities properties appear to be all on private land which allows this. Lake Berryessa may be the first time they are a concessionaire on government-owned land.

Private ownership of mobile homes on a Lake Berryessa resort can never happen again. The 2006 Record of Decision, the basic governing document of the future use of federal land at Lake Berryessa, banned personal ownership of mobile homes as “exclusive use”. 

Of course small mobile homes and cabins will be offered as rentals. RV camping will be another major amenity at the three resorts. It is unclear how much tent camping will be offered since the actual proposed plans will not be made public until the contracts are actually signed.

Reading the descriptions of the various Sun Communities resorts shows their emphasis on nearby public and private vacation attractions like national parks, lakes and rivers, and marinas. They do not appear to manage many/any large full-service marinas like those that were available in the past at Lake Berryessa. However, the extent of their ability to create great resorts at this lake is not in question. 

They obviously look at Lake Berryessa as a major opportunity to expand into the important recreation area of Lake Berryessa with an emphasis on their proximity to a world famous tourist destination - the Napa Valley.

The Napa supervisors have seen the Sun Communities bid and plans. They and County staff have been uniformly supportive for the last three years and deserve the thanks of our community.

One goal is to bring marinas back to the resorts. County Supervisor Diane Dillon said Sun Communities can do much more. “I think they will bring visitor-serving amenities and that could be eating establishments, sleeping establishments, the ability for people to come and visit the lake for more than just a day and enjoy it and recreate and relax and bolster the local economy up there,” Dillon said.

The redeveloped resorts won’t just be for tourists, Board of Supervisors Chairperson Alfredo Pedroza said. He wants to see a Lake Berryessa community area that local residents also enjoy. "We believe Sun Communities, Inc. is  the right partner for Napa County and the Berryessa community," Pedroza said. "They have the financial standing to deliver on the infrastructure investment we need to make."

The three resort sites, Steele Canyon Recreation Area, Spanish Flat Recreation area, and Monticello Shores Recreation Area (the former Rancho Monticello Resort) offer various redevelopment opportunities. 

Steele Canyon has large areas amenable to RV camping with some sites providing great views of the lake.

Long-time Berryessa buffs will recall that the old Steele Park Resort eliminated tent camping in favor of RV camping because of rowdy campers. Of course, they had about 140 long-term mobile homeowners paying $450 per month rent of their sites ($63,000 per month - about 40% of their revenue) to depend on.

Although Spanish Flat appears to have less area for full service RV sites and may continue to provide tent camping, it does have some amazing view locations on the east side of their “island” which could be converted to RV sites or rental cabins. 

Monticello Shores provides the best opportunity for advanced recreation amenity design. It has a long two-mile shoreline and is large enough to host a 9-hole, par-3 golf course. It was the largest resort at the lake hosting about 500 mobile home sites.  


Update: September 25, 2021

Napa County has informed the Spanish Flat Partners that the County will not extend their interim contract to manage the Spanish Flat Recreation Area past October 31. Spanish Flat Partners had previously been asked by the County if they would be willing to operate Spanish Flat Recreation Area under an extension to their present interim agreement. They had said they would be willing.

Suntex/Pleasure Cove had also been asked by the County if they would be willing to operate the Steele Canyon Recreation Area under a new interim agreement. They declined.

Spanish Flat Partners was then asked by the County if they might be willing to also operate Steele Canyon Recreation Area under a new interim agreement. Spanish Flat Partners evaluated that business opportunity but declined to pursue it. 

The result is the potential closure of both Steele Canyon Recreation Area and the Spanish Flat Recreation Area on October 31 for an indefinite period while Sun Communities has their plans for the future redevelopment of Steele Canyon, Spanish Flat , and Monticello Shores reviewed and approved.

One alternative to any rumored closures is for Sun Communities to run both areas at a minimum function for anglers, boaters, possibly tent and RV campers, during the winter.

There has been no official statement from Napa County at this time.    


1039 Rimrock Drive


Amber Payne

Senior Sales Asssociate



Thinking of BUYING or SELLING?


Lots For Sale (September 2021)


253 Sugarloaf Dr., $87,500

1312 Steele Canyon Rd. #6, $57,000

1140-1144 Steele Canyon Rd., $89,000

1013 Arroyo Linda Ct., $89,500

1122 Rimrock Dr., $49,900

259 Sugarloaf Dr., $87,500

1036 Eastridge Dr., $100,000

1082 Rimrock Dr., $102,500

1076 Rimrock Dr.,$84,500

208 Manzanita Ln., $149,000

319 Black Oak Ln., $65,000

1102 Arroyo Grande Dr., $48,999

1268 Steele Canyon Rd., $75,000

817 Bahia Vista Ct., $49,000

814 Bahia Vista Ct., $79,000

1068 Eastridge Dr., $130,000

1014 Arroyo Linda Ct. $49,000

1052 Eastridge Dr., $125,000

917 Cape Cod Ct., $150,000    


Evan ad


Where does Lake Berryessa water go after being born as a rain drop?

Here’s an amazing visualization tool! Click to drop a raindrop anywhere in the contiguous United States and watch where it ends up!


This link is of the path of a raindrop flowing through Lake Berryessa to the Bay. 



Napa, California

1. Knoxville Creek (8 km)

2. Eticuera Creek (23 km)

3. Unnamed River/Stream (6 km)

4. Putah Creek (22 km)

5. Unnamed River/Stream (53 km)

6. Unnamed River/Stream (26 km)

7. Prospect Slough (6 km)

8. Cache Slough (7 km)

9. Unnamed River/Stream (9 km)

10. Sacramento River (9 km)

San Francisco Bay

Visualization by Sam Learner | twitter link | email link | github link

Sources: The data used in this project comes from the USGS's NLDI API, along with additional NHDPlus data. 


Code and data for this project lives here:



New Feature: Lake Berryessa Historical Maps

Many People have an interest in Lake Berryessa history. For many years I’ve been collecting old paper maps. I had them scanned and just posted them on this web site in a photo album at: www.lakeberryessanews.com/photo-album/lake-berryessa-historical-2/.


LBSticker Final 031321 transparent


The definitive book about what happened at Lake Berryessa!

Policy and Politics Betray the People:

The Lake Berryessa Saga, 1958-2020

This KPIX Eye on the Bay interview I did in 2010 is a relevant introduction to the substance of the book. I did it after Pensus had been given the contract for 5 resorts. As we all know Pensus was subsequently kicked out in 2012. 

Peter & Brian Eye



Berryessa Book Cover

The book is available on Amazon as a Kindle version and a paperback version.


Without THE LAKE BERRYESSA NEWS there would be no Lake Berryessa News…and finally there would be no definitive history of what happened at Lake Berryessa. Having participated directly for more than twenty years as an advocate for the lake in the fiasco that was the Bureau of Reclamation’s Visitor Services Plan, its farcical but tragic outcome, and the process of rebuilding, I have very strong views of the causes and results - supported by facts and data.

This book is a historical anthology, a raw, as-it-happened, unfiltered picture of what many of us lived through. The goal is to provide the history and the context within which such an incredibly destructive course of action took place. It is dedicated to documenting this tragedy, this final betrayal of Lake Berryessa by the federal government - and, hopefully, the promised revitalization by Napa County.

Table of Contents 

The Kindle version has color photos and live links to videos and to pdf copies of all the primary documents used as resources for the book.

The paperback version is in black and white. For space rasons the paperback does not include the ection on the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. That section is available on the Lake Berryessa News website at:

The History of the Creation of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National MonumentThe Ultimate Political Perversion of the Antiquities Act

The Twisted Ten-Year Political Path From a Modest Nature Area Partnership to a Local Blue Ridge Berryessa National Conservation Area to a Large Disjointed Berryessa Snow Mountain National Conservation Area to an Incoherent Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument.

Is it the “Dumbest National Monument in the United States”? An objective review of the process by which it was created and the final formal designation suggests the answer is YES. I personally support the creation of legitimate national monuments, but this is not that. Being part of the ten year political process that led to its creation convinced me that in many situations the Antiquities Act is being abused. The Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument is a perfect case study of this abuse. 


The Lake Berryessa Fire One Month Later… 

What just happened, WHY, and Where do we go from here?

By Evan Kilkus

Volunteer Project Coordinator, Berryessa Highlands Fire Safe Council (BHFSC)

Read full article here…


LNU Lightning Complex Fire Coverage

News and Video Links


Special Reports



 (Final Lake Berryessa Ragatz Report)


Ragatz Report Summary and Recommendations


Napa County Request for Information & Interest

 for Lake Berryessa Concessions

Managing Partner Agreement (MPA) between Napa County and the Bureau of Reclamation

Lake Berryessa 2021 RFP

Primary Historical Documents

Lake Berryessa Interview with Peter Kilkus 

on KVON Radio with Larry Kramer


Economics Book on Amazon

-Kindle cover

Amazon Kindle - $2.99

The last few months and years have brought economic issues to the forefront of our lives. They have also shown us how little most Americans understand about basic economics. One of the primary myths that has been debunked by the COVID 19 crisis is that the stock market plays some part in the basic economy. Other simple economic principles that most people don’t understand are explained in my book.

The Stock Market Is Not The Economy, Stupid!

Where Does Money Really Come From?

What is Interest and Why Do We Deserve It?

My previous book on Economics is still available on Kindle. Learn the basic facts for yourself!


Conspiracy Theory or Automatic Pilot: The Economic Roots of Environmental Destruction. Available on Amazon in Kindle (above) or Paperback (below).

Classical economics is a mythology. Predatory capitalism is a fundamentalist religion based on this mythology. Environmental destruction and income inequality are results of the practice of this mythical religion. But is the present economic and environmental situation a conscious conspiracy or an unintended consequence of simplistic beliefs supported by basic human greed?

Serfs Up for book

This book provides the basics of classical economic theory and the description of the intended or unintended consequences of predatory capitalism based on this theory. It contrasts these to sustainability principles underpinning modern environmental economic theory and the various movement towards corporate responsibility.

The book is not meant to be an academic or scientific exercise for economists or policy makers. The concepts discussed are easily accessible to thoughtful readers. My objective was to explain to myself the structure of economic influence that is at the heart of environmental degradation (including the welfare of individual human beings). Understanding is the foundation of action.

Book Cover


Detailed report on how Lake Berryessa and Monticello Dam function at:



Special Release: New combined report for those who want to know almost everything about how Lake Berryessa works!

As Lake Berryessa Flows:

A Combination of Science, Engineering, and Natural Beauty

by Peter Kilkus

The Science and Engineering Elements of a Major Natural Resource

Download Full Report PDF Here...


Lake Berryessa Fills and Glory Hole Spills: The Video History

This amazing series of Lake Berryessa News Drone videos by Evan Kilkus documents the 45 foot rise of Lake Berryessa in 2017.



Full lake level history 2015
Lake Levels 2006 to 031217 edited-1
Lake Levels 1990 2017



Berryessa Valley and the Town of Monticello Historical Photos and Videos from before Lake Berryessa covered it.

Berryessa Valley photo

Thanks to Carol Fitzpatrick for creating the Berryessa Valley Exhibit at the Spanish Flat Village Center described in the first video.




Some Interesting Past Stories


Best of April Fool's Stories (2009 - 2021)

Full April Fool's Issues (2009 to 2021)


A Beautiful Day on Lake Berryessa (with the Sheriff)

Scuba Diving the Putah Creek Stone Bridge

Lake Berryessa Waterspout 2017

Grass-Fed People to Replace Grass-Fed Beef

Triploid Trout Getting Bigger and Smarter in Lake Berryessa

Becoming REALLY Green to Help Our Planet

University of Lake Berryessa Promotes Global Food Security: 

Meat Grapes &  Steak Potatoes


January 16, 2020 - KVON Radio Interview

Larry Kamer talks w/ author Peter Kilkus, about the many aspects of the Lake Berryessa Saga

Download the interview here...

The Stock Market IS NOT the Economy, Stupid!

Bird Goes Over the Glory Hole Waterfall Without A Barrel

Glory Hole: Awesome, Frightening, But Dangerous?

February 2019: 2nd Anniversary of Glory Hole Spilling

My First Fishing Trip on Lake Berryessa

Berryesa Oil Rush 1900 & 1920

Rattlesnakes: Friend or Enemy – or just a primal fear?

High Conflict Personality Disorder


Special Publications (PDF)


As Lake Berryessa Flows:

The Science and Engineering Elements of a Major Natural Resource (Combined Reports)

Combined Report Title Page and Index


As Lake Berryessa Flows: 

A Combination of Science, Engineering, and Natural Beauty 

(Single Report)


As Lake Berryessa Turns!

Temperature and Fishing in a Warm, Monomictic Lake 

(Single Report)  


Seeing Underwater at Lake Berryessa 

(Single Report)


The History of the Creation of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument: The Ultimate Political Perversion of the Antiquities Act

By Peter Kilkus

The Twisted Ten-Year Political Path From a Modest Nature Area Partnership to a Local Blue Ridge Berryessa National Conservation Area to a Large Disjointed Berryessa Snow Mountain National Conservation Area to an Incoherent Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument.

Is it the “Dumbest National Monument in the United States”? An objective review of the process by which it was created and the final formal designation suggests the answer is YES. I personally support the creation of legitimate national monuments, but this is not that. Being part of the ten year political process that led to its creation convinced me that in many situations the Antiquities Act is being abused. The Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument is a perfect case study of this abuse. 

Read the full report here.


Chef Neiman Marxist French

The Amazing Foods of Chef Neiman Marxist


Glory Hole Overflows: February, 2017 (ACDC version)

ACDC Intros mix


Rebel Rebel - Rockin’1000


Evan fights the fire at our house

Cancun Tour Photos

pKilkus@gmail.com                       © Peter Kilkus 2021