The latest issue of the Lake Berryessa News, December 2018, has been published. Download a pdf version here.

LBNews Pg 8&1 Dec18



2018 Lake Berryessa News Complete Set (PDF)


2018: The Year In Review Through Lake Berryessa News Headlines

January 2018: "Holes In History" at Lake Berryessa: Simple Incompetence, Fervent Ignorance, Malicious Arrogance

TEN YEARS of lost opportunities! A generation of children and families have missed some of the best experiences of their lives! It's time to start fulfilling    expectations, not digging new holes. If all goes well, the present schedule shows an optimistic date of July, 2018 for concessionaire selection and negotiations.

February 2018: February 2017 >>>>>February 2018: What A Difference A Year Makes!

The County received nine responses to the Request for Information and Interest for the redevelopment of five resorts. Next Steps: April, 2018 - MPA Authorization;  May, 2018-RFP Release. As of  2/8/18 the lake has stabilized at 431.1 feet - 8.9 feet below Glory Hole. No rain since January 26.

March 2018: No Drought Worries.  Lake Berryessa Is Full! Summer 2018 Will Be Interesting In More Ways Than One.

Once again the Lake Berryessa community is holding its breath in a spirit of cautious optimism. The Managing Partner Agreement between Napa County and Reclamation is to be completed in April. Summer 2018 should see concessionaire selection and contract negotiations proceeding.

April 2018: Easter Sunday Falls on April Fool's Day: A Spirit of Renewal Combined With A Sense of Humor Bodes Well For Lake Berryessa!

No Update From Napa County. No News From the Bureau of Reclamation. The Managing Partner Agreement (MPA) is still scheduled for completion during April. The Request for Proposal (RFP) is still scheduled for release in May.

May 2018: No on Measure C! When Good Science Goes Bad...Or Doesn't Go Anywhere At All.

Despite applehood and mother pie statements about the environmental benefits of oak woodlands, this initiative is simply an anti-winery, anti-vineyard, anti-growth measure. It will have the unintended consequence of negatively affecting Lake Berryessa and other rural property owners.

June 2018: The Lake Berryessa Senior Center & Community Hall! Become A Member Show Your Vote of Confidence In The Future.

The Center is committed to providing older adults, families and children with a friendly, supportive environment for social interaction, recreational activities, educational opportunities, community involvement, and access to public services. And it is also a full-service meeting and event facility.

July 2018: Revitalizing Lake Berryessa - Idling Towards Home

First the excitement of watching Napa County begin the process in early 2017. Then the  ray of hope when the county received nine responses to its RFII. Then the doldrums of Napa County negotiating a Managing Partner Agreement with the Bureau of Reclamation, followed by the engine failure somewhere in the process.

August 2018: Beating A Dead Horse With A Stick OR Beating A Horse With A Dead Stick? BOR Betrays Berryessa AGAIN!

It’s been a long time since the original promise of a “seamless transition” followed by years of total chaos leading to the destruction of our lake community. Is the Bureau of Reclamation a dead horse no longer functioning, or is the influence of Napa County just a dead stick when encountering bureaucratic inertia?

September 2018: Napa County Frustrated by Bureau of Reclamation Stalling Tactics as Talks on Resort Redevelopment “Continue”

There has been no progress regarding the completion of a Managing Partner Agreement (MPA) between Reclamation and Napa County. The original date for an MPA was January 2018 with the selection of new resort concessionaires to occur during this summer. Now there is no proposed completion date.

 October 2018: Congressman Thompson Tours Lake Berryessa with Interior Department Officials. Atlas Fire 1-Year Later.

 Thompson and federal officials toured Lake Berryessa. The Steele Fire destroyed homes and dreams after flames broke out suddenly on Saturday, July 28. The fire swept uphill in dry conditions and had burned several houses at the top of the ridge on Headlands Drive in less than an hour.

November 2018:Another Bureau of Reclamation Time Warp Moment! The “2020-something…” Lake Berryessa Revitalization Schedule

“Is it progress if a cannibal uses a fork?” After more than two years of painfully slow progress, the Board of Supervisors has yet to finalize a Managing Partner Agreement (MPA) with the Bureau of Reclamation. Reclamation has a 20-year history of delays and bureaucratic bungling that led to the present situation at the lake.

December, 2018: Bureau of Reclamation Produces Another Lost Year at Lake Berryessa

No Managing Partner Agreement. No Request For Proposals. One Year Interim Contract Extension For Dirt Camping.Reclamation response to Lake Berryessa crisis: hollow promises. Reclamation 2018 major accomplishment: money for new HQ roof & new boat!

For historical context of this year’s review, check out the history from 2017:

2017: The Year In Review Through Lake Berryessa News Headlines

All editions of The Lake Berryessa News since 2005 are available as downloadable, searchable PDF files at


1040 Blueridge Dec2018
1358 Steele Canyon Dec2018


Perspective on a Non-Directional Wheel-Spinning Bureaucracy

At the November 14, 2018 Community Forum Meeting, Reclamation was not willing to discuss the future scedule for negotiation completion and a final Managing Partner Agreement (MPA) with Napa County. 

They claim they are dedicated to a positive outcome but refuse to agree to a 55 year contract term - yet. What is really needed is for them to agree to a 55 year contract, release an RFP, and see who bids. Detailed contract negotiations can resolve any other minor issues. Without knowing who will bid, the present process is non-directional wheel spinning.

Reclamation suggests that the next Community Forum Meeting to potentially discuss the MPA process may be scheduled for January or February, 2019 - no guarantee.

Previous Revised RFII Schedule - January, 2018

September 26, 2017: RFII released.

October 2, 2017 : Questions, Round 1, (Cancelled)

October 5, 2017: Responses to Questions, (Cancelled)

October 6, 2017: Registration - Site Visit 1 (Cancelled)

October 11, 2017: Site Visit/Field Day 1 (Cancelled)

October 13, 2017: Registration for Site Visit 2 (Rescheduled due to Atlas Fire)

October 18, 2017: Site Visit/Field Day 2

(Rescheduled due to Atlas Fire)

October 24, 2017: Questions, Round 2 

(Rescheduled due to Atlas Fire)

November 1, 2017: Responses, Round 2

(Rescheduled due to Atlas Fire)

November 20, 2017: RFII Submittals Due

(Rescheduled due to Atlas Fire)

December 8, 2017: Registration for Site Visit

December 13, 2017: Site Visit/Field Day

December 20, 2017: Questions Due

January 10, 2018: Responses to Questions published

January 31, 2018:RFII Submittals Due

Tentative dates: MPA development and

RFP process.

April, 2018: MPA Authorization

May, 2018: RFP Release

June, 2018: RFP Due

Summer/Fall 2018: Concessionaire Selection 

& Negotiations

Editor's Note: It is now December, 2018!


1016 Eastridge Dec2018
1094 Westridge Dec2018


 Lake Berryessa’s Monticello Ski Club Wins Prize at the 

Annual Downtown Napa Christmas Parade

by Lucie Hock, MSC Treasurer

 It all started back in August when Carol Dunn told us that she always wanted to be in the Napa Christmas Parade. We were all on the dock and we casually said, “let’s do it this year”. I don’t think that any of us really believed that it would happen, but as the weeks went on we actually started to talk about it more and the more and we started to prepare.

Our participants were: Lonny Lopez, Michele Matson, Mike and Carol Dunn, Troy Grinbergs and Stacie Grinbergs, Frank and Lucie Hock and, of course, Gio Dunn, Kalyssa Grinbergs, Siena Dunn and Trevor Grinbergs. 

 And after one trial run decorating the boat in the court at our house one evening a few weeks before the parade, we were all in. Before we knew it, it was November 24th and time for the parade.

On the day of the parade, and after weeks of preparing, it took all of us four hours to prepare the boat with 10' lighted candy canes, fog and bubble machines and hundreds of LED lights. Speakers along the boat trailer and inside the back of the truck provide great Christmas music too.

At first it seemed almost overwhelming, but the hard work was fun. And then we raised the Lake Berryessa MSC Flag! This new flag will fly at the ski dock in 2019.

Lonny was in charge of the generators, music and the fog and bubble machines. He did an amazing job. At one time, right in the middle of the parade we lost power. You could hear a thousand people saying, “AWWWWWWW”. Lonny had the power back up and the music blasting and all the lights back on in less that a minute. The crowed cheered! You were really amazing Lonny. Thank You!

I have to give this special tribute to Troy Grinbergs. Troy worked endless hours on the huge lighted candy canes, the lighted wreath that hung between the candy canes. He provided out bubble and fog machines, amazing LED lights for underneath the boat, and the list goes on and on. “Everyone” worked really hard, but Troy was the star of this parade!

Trevor and Gio were our water skiers. Troy took wood skis, put some wheels on them, lighted them up with LEDs and they were ready to go. These guys were amazing. They held onto their lighted ski ropes and rode these boards behind the boat all the way through the parade. The crowds absolutely loved it!

The crowds were so amazed by the boat and the skiers. We were told it was the first boat ever in the Napa Parade and this was their 55th year! People were screaming, hooting, whistling and applauding. It was amazing to be a part of this!

And here is the best part. Out of MORE THAN 50 PARADE FLOAT ENTRIES, we won FIRST PLACE and the $500.00 PRIZE MONEY for the BEST LIGHTS IN THE WHOLE PARADE!!!! Yay!!


BOR Berryessa Field Office: 2018 Accomplishments


One-year extension of Interim Concession Contracts at Steele Canyon, Spanish Flat and Putah Canyon Concession Areas (11/13/18)

Transition and Renewal of Contract Agreement - Pleasure Cove Marina was purchased by Suntex Marinas. Reclamation is working with Suntex management to ensure proper future planning, contractual amendments, and contractual obligations.

Camping has remained highly desirable at the Lake Berryessa concession areas. Most weekends were 100% full except for those affected by the fire and smoke. Overall visitation at the lake was down in 2018 due to those conditions.


2017- 650,000   

2018- 450,000 (estimated)

Government Operations

The Lake Berryessa Field Office (LBFO) initiated a proposal to implement the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) which would allow Reclamation to charge entrance fees for previously free facilities.

Three public scoping meetings were held in Fall 2018. The scoping period remains open through January 21, 2019.  The Regional Director will make the final implementation decision. If implementedt, Lake Berryessa facilities will begin charging day use and boat launching fees at Oak Shores Day Use Area and Capell Boat Launch in spring 2019. As a recognized fee site, Reclamation will also be able to sell and honor a number of passes to federal public lands.


Received an additional funding amounof $400k to replace two of the 5 tile roofs at the administrative complex. The two roofs scheduled for replacement are the administrative and maintenance buildings.

Pursued ongoing partnership with Tuleyome to complete construction of the North End Trail, and 7.5 miles of other hiking facilities at the lake.


Rangers are acting as point of contact for updating the shade shelter rental information for Booz Allen Hamilton, the  contractor maintaining the web site is your gateway to explore America's outdoor and cultural destinations across the country. 

People  can purchase tours and tickets, search for camping and lodging, and reserve day-use facilities or purchase permits for limited use experiences.

Developed a birding VIP program to monitor herons, eagles, and wood ducks. Four volunteers observed nine eaglets in five nests this season.

Greeted 906 travelers on State Route 128 at the Monticello Dam Program.

Presented education programs at Oak Shores Day Use Area to more than 200 students.

Staffed information tables at Napa and Solano Ag Days for local elementary students. Contacted more than 600 students.

Participated in World Environment Day at Markley Cove with 96 volunteers and organized Coastal Cleanup Day with a record number of 106 volunteers.

Presented Waterways Education Programs to 625 elementary students at Lake Solano County Park.

Participated in the 2017 Winters Salmon Fest. Contacted 253 participants. Led free fishing days and a C.A.S.T. for Kids Event.

Led ranger-guided kayak programs for the public and UC Davis students.

Initiated ranger-guided hikes and bike programs on the North End Trail.

Attended Yolo Bypass Duck Days. Spoke with 225 participants. 

Attended job fairs at Pacific Union College.

Natural Resources

Acting Natural Resources staff is active while administration is filling the permanent position.

Working with staff at Mid-Pacific Region. Secured $65,000 for new boat to conduct survey work/patrols in managing aquatic invasive species.

Attended prescribed fire workshop.

Coordinated with other staff on North End Trail improvements.

Met with Napa County Open Space District regarding Berryessa Vista Trail improvements.

Held multiple meetings with Fire Chief Aaron Latta regarding prescribed burns.

Fire Management

Reclamation employees dealt with relocations, detours, or smoke exposure from the Atlas, County, Steele, and Snell Fires in FY2018

Installed Oak Shores Day Use Area’s first Fire Danger sign to help raise awareness of the risk for wildfire throughout the fire season.

Working with the Concession Managers, Reclamation ensured that no fires were permitted during Red Flag warning days. Thank you to them for keeping our lake safe.

It will be required for resports to ban all fires on Red Flag days in 2019. To avoid starting fires with sparks, make sure trailer chains are secure and are not dragging!


Thank you to Napa County Sheriff’s deputies for ongoing coverage and training provided to LBFO.

Thank you to CalFire for ongoing efforts in an ongoing fire season.

Thank you to Tuleyome for continuing to see our North End Trail project through to completion.


318 Black Oak Dec2018
1089 Headlands Dec2018


Welcome to the best map of Lake Berryessa you’ll ever find!

Click on the map to see a larger version.

Click here to download a pdf copy.

1 Lake Map Base 082317


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



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.



1958 - 2018

by Peter Kilkus


What Happened At Lake Berryessa? The Book! 

(Click to Download the PDF here)

Table Of Contents


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 which were mostly obfuscated by the proponents of the destruction of the lake’s residential and business community.

The Bureau of Reclamation and their supporters destroyed family recreation at Lake Berryessa for a generation of families, children, and friends. Many people ask me about the history of the process that led to the present situation at Lake Berryessa. When I explain what happened most become incredulous and can't believe the government could have done something so stupid. "How could they have gotten away with that?" they exclaim.

The goal of this book is to provide the history and the context within which such an incredibly destructive course of action took place.

The initial timeline shows a condensed history of the process. The next section tells the story through the eyes of Lake Berryessa News articles. With the permission of the Napa Register, a parallel history is presented through contemporaneous editorials, articles, and letters to the editor from the Napa Register.

This book is not a traditional academic exercise in historical exposition. Academic historians define history as presenting facts without expressing any opinion or analysis of the events whereas memories are comprised of emotions that can have a great influence on the perception of an actual event. Critical historians live by the old saying of "there are two sides to every story and then there is the truth."

I’m more interested in the narrative approach to defining this history. Almost two decades have passed since this story began, and Lake Berryessa history has been created with every day of that twenty years.

This book is the raw, as-it-happened, unfiltered picture of what many of us lived through. It is organized chronologically; focused on a single coherent story; primarily descriptive but also analytical; primarily concerned with people but also the abstract circumstances in which they find themselves. To me a big part of the fascination with any history is trying to discover what was going on inside people's heads in the past, and what it was like to live in that past.

The future may finally looking brighter for Lake Berryessa or does it? History continues to unfold.

Peter Kilkus, Lake Beryessa, 2018


Here's an interview I did in 2010, three years after the interview below with Pat Monaghan and just after Pensus had been given the contract for 5 resorts. As we all know Pensus was subsequently kicked out in 2012.        

Here's a 2007 TV interview with Pat Monaghan, cofounder of Task Force 7 at Lake Berryessa, to give you some historical insight. Those of you who remember Pete Lucero will recognize his description of what we called "The Big Lie" - which turned into the "Epic Fail".

How It All Began: The Origins of the “Big Lie”

Lake Berryessa History Timeline: 1958 - 2018

Click here for PDF version

Lake Berryessa News (2010 - 2018): A VERY SLOW MOTION Disaster! 

Click here for PDF version


Some Interesting Past Stories

Silly Septic System Standards Harm Rural Napa

Beating A Dead Horse With A StickOR Beating A Horse With A Dead Stick? BOR Betrays Berryessa AGAIN!

A Fishy Fishing Story at Lake Berryessa

Undercover agents and all…plus a new Fishing Guide Policy from Reclamation

A Tale of Two Aircraft Tragedies - Twenty Years Apart

Reclamation Releases Final Environmental Assessment (EA) For Lake Berryessa Recreation Areas Development

"Holes In History" at Lake Berryessa: Simple Incompetence, Fervent Ignorance, Malicious Arrogance

2017: The Year In Review Through Lake Berryessa News Headlines

The Great Lake Berryessa (Atlas) Fire of 2017

Atlas Fire Timeline From The Berryessa Highlands

What Is That Red Stuff Falling From The Sky?

Circle Oaks Fire - The Great Escape

Lake Berryessa 1971: Controversy Begins (Oakland Tribune)

My First Fishing Trip on Lake Berryessa

The Destruction of Steele Park Resort

Analysis of the Creation of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument - the Dumbest National Monument in the United States

Lake Berryessa History: The Summer of Love (1967) versus The Summers of Chaos (1998-1999) 

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

Alternative A+ Executive Summary (2002): 

What Lake Berryessa Could Have Been.


Special Publications

As Lake Berryessa Flows: 

A Combination of Science, Engineering, and Natural Beauty

As Lake Berryessa Turns!

Temperature and Fishing in a Warm, Monomictic Lake  


Final Ragatz Report (75MB PDF)

Ragatz Summary Recommendations (75 KB PDF)

Conspiracy Theory Or Automatic Pilot: The Economic Roots Of Environmental Destruction        

By Peter F. Kilkus 

Download PDF of this report (2 MB)


The Amazing Foods of Chef Neiman Marxist

Chef Neiman Marxist French


Winters Express logo

The Winters Express


ACDC Intros mix


Glory Hole Overflows

County Berryessa Map Large                       © Peter Kilkus 2018