LB sticker

The latest issue of the Lake Berryessa News has been published and is available to download at:


7 July2022


Update: Quiet But Nice!

June has been a quiet time around Lake Berryessa. There’s been no further word on the County’s ongoing negotiations with the company chosen to be the manager of Berryessa Point Recreation Area (formerly Berryessa Marina). However, County sources assure the Lake Berryessa News that lake users will be pleased with the results.

According to the County, Sun Lake Berryessa is still working hard to complete all required environmental requirements for development before they begin investing in actual construction activities. 

There have been some minor glitches with operations at Steele Canyon and Spanish Flat Recreation areas. An unintended consequence of the ban on open fires at the lake was a spate of camping cancellations. It seems odd that some people had planned their vacations and made reservations but then canceled them because they couldn’t have an open fire during the highest fire danger of the season.

What some folks may not recall is that Sun was never required to keep Spanish Flat and Steele Canyon open during this transition period. There was actually a clause in the original agreement that allowed Sun to close those resorts during redevelopment. The Lake Berryessa News strongly urged the County to keep those resorts open. Sun agreed to do so and is operating the locations under an interim contract with Napa County.

Although perhaps not the best public relations move, Sun did raise prices on their various services – with no improvements in the amenities offered. This caused many complaints from potential customers. But get used to it - prices will never come down. 

Although the resorts are profitable (as usual) that revenue is very small within a multi-billion dollar company which is planning to invest hundreds of millions in Lake Berryessa.

As a reality check on recreation costs, the Lake Berryessa News did a price comparison between taking a family of four to a movie or going camping at Lake Berryessa. Camping or a day use trip to the lake is generally cheaper than taking a family to the movies (and you can’t take your dog to the movies).

Family Movie Trip

Tickets: Adult - $12, Child - $8.50

Small popcorn - $6, Medium popcorn - $7, Large popcorn - $8, Candy - $4

Small drink - $5, Medium drink - $5.50, Large drink - $6

Cost: 2 adults & 2 children - tickets: $12 + $12+ $8.50 + $8.50 = $41. 

2 small popcorns ($12) + 2 medium popcorns ($14) + 4 medium drinks ($22) + 2 candy ($8) = $56

Two to three hour family movie trip (4 people) = $97! (and no pets allowed)


Family Camping Trip (Steele Canyon)

RV Campsite (2 vehicles, 2 guests): $55

(each add’l guest – max 8 guests): $5

Total 4 people: $65

Total - with boat launch: $75

Tent Campsite (1 vehicle, 2 guests): $45

(each add’l guest – max 4 guests): $5

Total - 1 vehicle – 4 people total: $55

Total - with boat launch: $65

Day Use

Per vehicle up to 4 guests:  $20

(each add’l guest): $5

Pet:  $5

Total - 1 vehicle – 4 people, one pet: $25

Total - with boat launch: $55

Boat launch - registered camper: $10

Boat launch - general public $30


While we weren’t watching, Sun Communities rebranded themselves as Sun Outdoors; bought Safe Harbor Marinas, the largest marina company in the country; became a NASCAR race sponsor; started a YouTube series of conversations with celebrities regarding outdoor recreation; introduced a new website which includes Lake Berryessa; and continued their rapid growth as a multi-billion dollar company. 

Sun RV Resorts Rebrands to Sun Outdoors


Nov 16, 2021: Outdoor Hospitality Leader Unveils 'Sunnier Side' Rebrand; Offers Array of Unique Experiences, Premier Accommodations, Enhanced Digital Elements and New Brand Partnerships

Sun RV Resorts, the leading owner and operator of more than 175 resorts and campgrounds across the United States and Canada, today announced the launch of its company-wide rebrand to Sun Outdoors. Under the new brand, Sun Outdoors encourages travelers to explore their 'Sunnier Side' at one of the company's vacation, glamping and 55+ resorts, offering guests a wide range of experiences and accommodations. 

The brand publicly revealed its new identity by launching a new integrated website last week, elevating the user's online journey with engaging images, authentic outdoor content, in-depth resort information and a streamlined booking process. Sun Outdoors will also soon be unveiling a new mobile app, original YouTube content, loyalty program, new onsite resort signage to ensure consistent brand and service execution, and adventure-forward brand partnerships, serving as the premier cultivator of memorable and unique outdoor experiences.

The rebrand to Sun Outdoors mirrors the growing demand for travel experiences within the outdoor landscape. With guests looking to curate their experiences, Sun Outdoors launched its website to simplify and expedite planning for vacations and seasonal stays. The site features several avenues allowing travelers to search by location, "Ways to Stay," special offers, experiences and more. Soon to follow, the Sun Outdoors mobile app will launch to make searching, planning and booking seamless for on-the-go travelers

With compelling content in mind, Sun Outdoors is also elevating their social media presence with authentic and engaging videos. Sun Outdoors plans to share a multitude of creative content across their social media platforms via podcasts, videos and more. This will include new original content including a YouTube series of captivating fireside chats with outdoor enthusiasts, tastemakers, RVers and celebrities, providing a transparent and engaging view into the world of outdoor travel.

Sun Outdoors Unveils Campfire Convos; New YouTube Series Spotlights Authentic Fireside Conversations with Outdoor Enthusiasts, Celebrities and Tastemakers

Leading Outdoor Hospitality Brand Brings Stories of the Great Outdoors to Life with New Digital Series


Jan. 25, 2022: Sun Outdoors, a transformative outdoor hospitality leader, today announced the launch of its new original digital series, "Campfire Convos". Premiering earlier this week on Sun's YouTube Channel, "Campfire Convos" spotlights an exciting and diverse lineup of celebrities, athletes, influencers and tastemakers, all sharing their passion and connection to the great outdoors.

 Each twenty-minute episode, which is hosted by Emmy Award winning National Football League Reporter James Palmer, features intimate and authentic campfire stories and will be released monthly. Filmed at Sun Outdoors San Diego Bay, the first episode features Palmer's interview with NASCAR driver, businesswoman and social media influencer, Hailie Deegan.

"Campfire Convos" offers a unique look into the world of outdoor travel and the peace of mind that comes with it, as told from different perspectives and first-hand experiences. Palmer dives into the adventures of guests during fireside chats at various Sun Outdoors resorts across the country. Redefining the American dream, hitting the open road, unique ways of life, overcoming misconceptions and logistics of RV life are just some of the dialogues covered in each episode. Within each interview, Palmer conducts engaging segments such as rapid fire, a series of this-or-that questions, and s'more talk, a playful conversation while making s'mores that closes out each episode.

Sun Outdoors Sponsors NASCAR Racing

Following a successful partnership in 2021, Sun Outdoors, a leader in outdoor hospitality, returns to the Camping World SRX Series as an official partner for the 2022 season. Sun Outdoors will be featured on the No. 39 car for the six races with driver Ryan Newman, an 18-time winner in the NASCAR Cup Series, including the 2008 Daytona 500.

Sun Outdoors joined the SRX team of partners for the Series' inaugural season as Sun RV Resorts, prior to undergoing a rebrand in November 2021. Sun Outdoors, which appeared on Tony Stewart’s championship-winning car a season ago, will be aligned with more star power in 2022, as they’ll be featured on Ryan Newman’s No. 39 car.

Sun Outdoors Race Car


Steele Canyon


Discover an amazing outdoor playground when you visit us at Steele Canyon on the gorgeous waters of Lake Berryessa. You can also experience the world-famous wine region of Napa Valley, situated less than an hour from our California RV resort. We offer spacious tent camping and RV sites so you can connect with the stunning natural beauty that surrounds Napa County. When you visit Steele Canyon, your outdoor vacation adventure in California goes from ordinary to extraordinary.

Spanish Flat


Experience an outdoor getaway on the gorgeous waters of Lake Berryessa at Spanish Flat. You can also travel less than an hour from our amazing California RV resort and discover the famous destination of Napa Valley during your visit. Enjoy spacious accommodations that connect you with the picturesque beauty that surrounds our resort with tent camping or RV sites. Spend some time at an outdoor playground during your next California vacation when you visit Spanish Flat.


Sun Communities Acquires Safe Harbor Marinas in $2.1B Deal

“We are excited to partner with Sun Communities, a premier real estate investment trust that owns and operates 426 properties across North America,” said Baxter Underwood, CEO of Safe Harbor Marinas. “We have spent a number of years getting to know Sun and are impressed with their leadership team and track record of consistently growing value for all their stakeholders. 

Safe Harbor will operate independently from Sun’s other businesses, but we will benefit from their tremendous strength.” Considered the largest and most diversified marina owner and operator in the country, Safe Harbor owns and operates 101 marinas, manages five marinas on behalf of third parties and has a member network of about 40,000 boat owners across 22 states.


Evan page cover

Saving Homes One Property at a Time

Do you want to improve your home's chances of surviving a wildfire? When preparing for a wildfire, you want to take the approach of preparing for a worst-case wildfire. Our team will point out all the things that can be improved and can even help you prioritize and execute the work. The investment in your home can save your home. If we want to live in a forest, we need to take the basic and sometimes extreme steps to make it defendable.

Over the last decade our team has helped save hundreds of homes in Napa County by creating defensible space and providing home hardening assessments. Complete Wildfire Defense, LLC brings our experts together to assess all elements of wildfire safety with your home and property.

Home and Property Wildfire Risk Assessment and Evaluation

We all know that every home and structure in a forest or a wildfire prone area needs to be prepared.  Complete Wildfire Defense can help you identify the hazards and prioritize the solutions.  Extremely thorough defensible space and firefighters saved all the homes in this picture during the LNU Complex Fire.  Two times in two days.

Rimrock picture

Defensible Space Project Management

Whether you have a 1/4 acre, or 1,000 acres... we want to give you and firefighters a better chance at saving your home, property, and forest. Defensible space and firefighters saved all the homes in this picture.

Homes saved

Home Hardening and Fire Sprinkler Improvements

Almost every home out there has room for improvement.  Make your home more ember and fire resistant. Up to 1000 feet of defensible space plus a sprinkler system prepared this hardened home for the LNU Fire.

Sprinkler house

Evan ad 2022


Valley Internet color 2022


Lake Berryessa Statistics (6/30/22)

The lake is now down to 403.7 feet – 36.3 feet below Glory Hole. The official rainfall total at Monticello Dam is 18.73 inches. The Gamble Gauge shows the lake dropped to 60.1% capacity. 

Surface water temperature is 80 degrees from the surface to 10 feet down. Temperature is around 56 - 64 degrees at 40 feet and below.

Lake Temps 063022


Updated Map of Lake Berryessa (6/30/22)



Lake Berryessa Summer Hours

Dufer Point Visitor Center: Park rangers will continue to staff the Dufer Point Visitor Center from noon to 3 p.m. on weekends and holidays.

Oak Shores Day Use Area: Throughout the year, South Oak Shores is open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

South Oak Shores open is weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Reclamation has extended South Oak Shores’ closing hours to 8 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Starting on May 2, the north end of Oak Shores will reopen for day use from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays only.

Smittle Creek and Eticuera Day Use Area: Smittle Creek and Eticuera are available for wildlife watching, picnicking and hand-launching watercraft throughout the year. The Smittle Creek Trail remains closed due to damage from the LNU Lightning Complex Fire. Park Rangers close the parking lot gates by 8 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. The parking lot gates will close before 5 p.m. on weekdays.

The Capell Cove Boat Launch is close until further notice. The parking lot and small picnic areas at the Capell Cove will remain open. Additionally, hand launching of kayaks, canoes and other small craft will continue to be permitted.

Concession areas: Markley Cove Resort, Pleasure Cove Marina, Steele Canyon Recreation Area, Putah Canyon, and Spanish Flat offer a variety of recreation services, including boat launching, and are alternatives to Oak Shores and Capell Cove.

For information regarding services offered at concession-operated facilities, launch fees or to make reservations, call the concession operators or visit their websites:

Markley Cove, 707-966-2134, www.markleycoveresort.com

Pleasure Cove Marina, 707-966-9600, www.goberryessa.com

Steele Canyon Recreation Area, 707-966-9410, www.sunoutdoors.com/california/steele-canyon

Spanish Flat Recreation Area, 707-966-0200, www.sunoutdoors.com/california/spanish-flat

Putah Canyon Recreation Area, 707-966-9051, www.royalelkparkmanagement.com

For information on activities, fees, directions, pet restrictions or other questions at the lake, call the Lake Berryessa administration office at 707-966-2111


Attention campers and Lake Berryessa visitors!!!


Due to the elevated wildland fire risks during the dry summer months, an open burn ban for the Lake Berryessa Recreational Areas will take effect on Monday, May 30 at 8pm. 

Open flames such as charcoal grills and fire pits will be prohibited on the recreational sites managed by Napa County and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation from that time until further notice. As an alternate, visitors to those sites may use propane-operated cooking devices and gas operated fire rings.

For clarification the burn ban does NOT apply to Berryessa residential communities or other recreational areas in Napa County.


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.



Special Reports

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.



lake-levels multi year


Sun Lake Berryessa, LLC Devlopmment Plans




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

Monticello from air gig

Thanks to Carol Fitzpatrick for creating the Berryessa Valley Exhibit at the Spanish Flat Village Center (Now t the Winters Historical Museum) described in the first video.


Berryessa Valley Exhibit Moves to the Winters History Museum


Some Interesting Past Stories

Berryessa Valley Exhibit Moves to the Winters History Museum

...From 1977 (45 years ago):Revolt Against BOR in 1977: Wier Out of Lake Berryessa Management


Floating Native American Casino (4/1/22)

Napa County Fights Against Building the Monticello Dam

Lake Berryessa Historical Maps

What’s Under Lake Berryessa?

Glory Hole: Awesome, Frightening, But Dangerous?

Skateboarding Inside Glory Hole

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

Full April Fool's Issues (2009 to 2021)

Triploid Trout Getting Bigger and Smarter in Lake Berryessa

University of Lake Berryessa Promotes Global Food Security: 

Meat Grapes &  Steak Potatoes


Scuba Diving the Putah Creek Stone Bridge

Bridge Dive Video

Lake Berryessa Waterspout 2017


The Stock Market IS NOT the Economy, Stupid!

Bird Goes Over the Glory Hole Waterfall Without A Barrel

My First Fishing Trip on Lake Berryessa

Berryesa Oil Rush 1900 & 1920

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


Lake Berryessa Technical Manual


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

Environmental Forum of Marin: Agriculture Day, 1999

Sun Lake Berryessa Master File

Rebel Rebel - Rockin’1000


Evan fights the fire at our house

pKilkus@gmail.com                       © Peter Kilkus 2021