Capell fire event edited-1


Life After Labor Day: Enjoy Beautiful Lake Berryessa Activities And Cooler Weather

No Progress Between Napa And Reclamation, But The Zombie Tax Is Back! Measure Z Reincarnated As Measure K!



"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration."

Abraham Lincoln


The Latest Issue Of The Lake Berryessa News, September 2019, Has Been Published And Is Available to Download. Click on image below.

LBNews Pg 8&1 Sep19


The Zombie Tax Returns As Special K

Buy More Land! Spend More Money! But Why?

The Napa County Board of Supervisors voted to place the proposed 15-year Open Space tax on the ballot as Measure K. If passed by a two-thirds vote, the tax would raise an estimated $9 million annually, but the money from wouldn’t be controlled by the Board of Supervisors. Rather, it would go to the Napa County Regional Park and Open Space District, a body created by voters in 2006 with its own, elected board of directors.

The previous attempt to get a huge amount of money for the RPOSD was Measure Z, the Zombie Tax, of 2016 narrowly lost.

The Open Space District claims to have “protected” 5,090 acres and runs such parks as Moore Creek Park and Bothe-Napa Valley State Park. It has no funding source of its own, but operates on about $1 million annually granted by the Board of Supervisors from the county’s transient occupancy tax. Much of the land it has “protected” were simple buyouts of bad private land investments that couldn’t be developed anyway. Land around Lake Berryessa that had no chance of being built on was acquired through “donations - with tax benefits” or bought for a “low price”. So what? That land could never have been developed under Napa County restrictions

Now the Open Space District wants to tax us and give them a $9 million per year slush fund - with no proposed benefit to a long-suffering Lake Berryessa. Their proposed Master Plan is a slick marketing document which will bring tears of joy to those obsessed with “protecting” land at any cost. But the first question we must ask is “protecting” from what?

The Napa County Land Trust, enabled by IRS regulations granting tax breaks to donors and by Napa County land use restrictions, has already protected almost 74,000 acres in Napa County with conservation easements. The recently enacted Watershed and Tree Protection Ordinance includes provisions to accelerate that by requiring vineyard developers to grant conservation easements. The Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation land around Lake Berryessa is already “protected” from any development. With nearly a third of the County already dedicated to open space, it would be highly inappropriate to dedicate public funds to acquiring more.

The ordinance itself throws money around the county like a drunken sailor cliche, including grants to the cities for their public parks, in an attempt to sway urban voters.  It’s “Overview” even includes a scientifically irrelevant and un-measurably small appeal to those concerned with climate change : “By protecting natural carbon sequestration, the Ordinance will help Napa fight climate change.”

Then it tries to scare voters with an unverified and unverifiable fear factor: “Without the Ordinance, 20,000 acres of unprotected land and natural areas could be lost to development and gone forever.” Protected from what? What “development”?

Lake Berryessa is mentioned only once in the ordinance, and the subject is water quality, not revitalization of the area as a key resource for outdoor recreation: “protect water quality in rivers, creeks and lakes, including but not limited to the Napa River and its tributaries, Putah Creek and its tributaries including Lake Berryessa, and Suisun Creek including Lake Curry, by acquiring the watersheds that supply water to these rivers, creeks and lakes”

I have proposed that the supervisors take $200,000 per year from the RPOSD budget to help pay the initial three years of transition costs for the revitalization of the Lake Berryessa resorts. This money would hopefully accelerate the now-stalled Managing Partner Agreement between Napa and Reclamation. After that the resort revenue would cover those ongoing costs.

$9M per year, $135M over 15 years, is a ridiculous number of dollars to give to such an uncontrolled group. What could you do with $9M per year? A lot of good could be accomplished at the most important recreation resource in Napa County - Lake Berryessa.

Read the ordinance for yourself at:

Open Space Tax Ordinance.pdf

For those interested in taking a trip into the fantasy world of how to spend millions of dollars on the pseudo-“protection" of Napa County, download this document:

 2019 UPDATE to the Napa Open Space District 2008 Master Plan 



Overview. The goal of this Ordinance is to protect the quality and quantity of local water resources, reduce wildfire risk, preserve 20,000 acres of forests, wildlife habitat, rivers and streams and other important open space lands and resources in Napa County, provide public parks for all, and educate future generations in the care and stewardship of the natural environment.

The Ordinance does this by establishing (subject to voter approval) a dedicated source of funds to implement the Napa Open Space District Master Plan as updated on July 8, 2019. Funds come from a one-quarter percent transaction and use tax (commonly referred to as a sales tax); of the estimated $9 million annually generated, at least 52 percent is restricted to the acquisition of high priority open space lands, 25 percent is restricted to operating, maintaining and improving open space lands, including but not limited to managing forests to reduce wildfire risk, operating public parks and sponsoring youth outdoor education, 20 percent will be distributed to the four cities and one town in Napa County to implement their adopted local park and recreation plans, and no more than three percent may be spent on administrative overhead. ...The Ordinance requires independent citizen oversight, mandatory financial audits and yearly reports to the public.

The Ordinance makes it possible for the Napa Open Space District and its partners to compete successfully to obtain a fair share of State and Federal matching funds. Tourists are expected to pay more than one-third of the total funds generated. Without the Ordinance, 20,000 acres of unprotected land and natural areas could be lost to development and gone forever. The Ordinance will help ensure that city parks can continue to be expanded and improved to provide valuable recreational facilities for local residents. By protecting natural carbon sequestration, the Ordinance will help Napa fight climate change. The tax authorized by this Ordinance shall terminate in fifteen years unless renewed by a two-thirds majority of the voters of Napa County.

Board Satire 082619 final


To the Editor: Return of the Sales Tax Zombie

The Napa Parks and Open Space District recent appeal for a tenfold increase in their annual funding reminds me of long ago times when I would beg my mother for pie or ice cream. Generally, my strategy did not work with my mother but I continued to use it always hoping for an improved outcome.

It appears that the President of the Parks and Open Space District, Brent Randol, should have listened to his mother’s advice in 2016 when he knew Measure Z was in trouble. At that time Randol said at a meeting at the Odd Fellows Hall in St. Helena that he then asked, “Mom, how are you voting on Measure Z?” and quoted her response as, “Not another damn tax, I’m voting NO.”

In the Open Space District’s own board of Directors vote on July 8, 2019 only 3 of the 5 directors voted to bring an election proposal to the board of supervisors. 3 of 5 is 60% yet they want 66.7% of the voters to approve this new sales tax. Were the 2 non-voting directors concerned about another defeat at the polls?

County voters have clearly shown in 3 of 3 past elections (over 27 years) that they do not want to fund an independent bureaucratic parks and open space organization. All 3 of the previous elections asking for massive increases in funding for the parks district have been defeated by voters. Perhaps they are concerned about the bureaucratic protection (or destruction) they have witnessed by the bureaucratic Bureau of Reclamation at Lake Berryessa?

An obvious question for the open space district leaders, “What Part of “NO” do you not understand?” And for our supervisors, "Does your action in approving this request really indicate your respect for the desires your constituents have repeatedly demonstrated at the ballot box?"

Polling for Measure Z in 2016 predicted there was insufficient support to win the election. The polling report results for this election have been withheld from the public. Current polling was paid for by the quasi-private Land Trust and the results of the poll have been withheld from the public by the District and by the Land Trust. Why?

More importantly, I believe Napa residents have demonstrated, more clearly than any paid for polling, the actual desires of Napa residents. Yet the county supervisors have continued to place these tax measures on the ballot.

Mr. Randol recently discussed an anticipated 60 years of projects with the Napa County Taxpayers Association he also discussed plans for another potential measure to extend the sales tax after 15 years. The point being voters should make no mistake believing this is a temporary tax measure. It is obvious that the Parks and Open Space District has no intent for it to be a temporary tax. In fact, the district directors have already discussed and proposed a doubling of the sales tax to ½% with  an anticipated extension request.

Jack Gray, Director

Napa County Taxpayers Association


Sanderson June2019


Another Summer Ends With No Progress

2009: Ten years ago Reclamation demolishes the resorts and severely damages the local economy and recreational access without any positive outcomes.

2010: Beginning of the failed Pensus experiment.

2012: Reclamation terminates Pensus contract.

2013: Pensus appeals contract termination and loses.

2014: Reclamation prepares new documents for the next Bid Prospectus. 

2015: Reclamation releases Concession Bid Prospectus.

2016: Reclamation announces that no successful bids were received. Lake Berryessa News begins campaign to have Napa County take over management of lake resorts.

2017: Napa County agrees to evaluate the potential management of the resorts under a Managing Partner Agreement with Reclamation.

2018-2019: Despite positive studies and the support of Napa County Supervisors, negotiations between Napa County and Reclamation regarding a Managing Partner Agreement continue with no visible results. Reclamation has no real incentive to agree.


139 Berryess Dr Sept2019
208 Manzanita Sept2019
209 Manzanita Sept2019


Bocce is Big in St. Helena - And Lake Berryessa Is Represented.

The City of St. Helena is rightly famous for its LARGE bocce league. The St. Helena Bocce season is 17 weeks played in the spring and summer.  Bocce is played 6 nights a week including Friday mornings during the Farmers Market. There are 17 registered bocce teams per night -  more than 100 teams! 

bocce court edited-1

The Berryessa Headhunters carry the flag for Lake Berryessa. The 2019 summer league season is coming to an end with the Berryessa Headhunters in second place. The now move on to the finals where the top three teams fight it out in sudden death matches. Hopefully they will do well.

The sport is played with one small ball (Pallino) and eight larger balls [Bocce (singular), Bocci (plural)]—four for each team. The Pallino is thrown first and becomes the target. Then each Bocce is thrown with the goal of placing it as close to the Pallino as possible. 

bocce court1

   The Berryessa Headhunters are:

Aric Ahlstrom (Captain)

Craig Ahlstrom 

Margaret Ahlstrom

Geoffrey Lake

Carl Peterson

Oscar Salas 

Peggy and Craig Ahlstrom are shown here in the Lake Berryessa Headhunters team shirts.

Berryessa Headhunters photo


1025 Arroyo Linda Sep2019
1085 Headlands Sep2019
1325 Steele Canyon Sep2019


Lake Berryessa House For Rent

 Red Rock Lane, Berryessa Highlands

Two master bedrooms with full bath. Family room/ garage/extra bedroom. Wrap around deck with a view of the lake. Children and 'a' pet welcome.

If interested please call Crown Reality, Ryan Henderson, 707- 255-0880, RHenderson@crownpm.com


Stress Rehearsal

By Marcus Cox

Before my part time business became my full time business I used to commute 136 miles a day in  horrendous San Francisco Bay traffic – my mind would anxiously rehearse the day’s schedule, meetings and deadlines, and of course upcoming bills etc.  I commuted from Napa to San Leandro and by the time I left the house at 4:45 am my stress rehearsal of all the things I had to do and what “might happen” was already in high gear – the big rush of cortisol and adrenalin that are effects of being plugged into the F.U.D. (fear, uncertainty and doubt) factory and then add a splash of traffic jam, morning news (horrors) and totally forget how wonderful life is! I finally had a heart attack (on 680 but managed to make the off ramp) and I knew I had to make a drastic change.

Long story short I started taking my part time biz seriously and was able to fire my Boss in 2008 and never look back. Since then my wife and I get to hang out on Lake Berryessa on our boat (never on weekends), go skiing in Tahoe midweek,  or go to SF or the Coast during the week too –we never have to beg for extra vacation too. We have been on 4 exotic Cruises now – even though we never thought that possible.  

How about you? Do you love where you live but don’t have the time to enjoy it? Could you use some extra income? If you would like to learn how we build a Global biz on Facebook , from a Mountainside or on the Lake, send me a friend request on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/marcus.cox.923 - listen to some other testimonials so you can be the judge.


Veil of Ignorance: A Philosophical Application of the "Golden Rule"

All people are biased by their situations, so how can people, atheists, religionists, or humanists agree on a “social contract” to govern how the world should work.

Philosopher John Rawls suggests that we should imagine we sit behind a veil of ignorance that keeps us from knowing who we are and identifying with our personal circumstances. By being ignorant of our circumstances, we can more objectively consider how societies should operate.

Two primary principles supplement Rawls’ veil of ignorance: the liberty principle and the difference principle.

According to the liberty principle, the social contract should try to ensure that everyone enjoys the maximum liberty possible without intruding upon the freedom of others.

According to the difference principle, the social contract should guarantee that everyone an equal opportunity to prosper. In other words, if there are any social or economic differences in the social contract, they should help those who are the worst off. And, any advantages in the contract should be available to everyone.

So, according to Rawls, approaching tough issues through a veil of ignorance and applying these principles can help us decide more fairly how the rules of society should be structured. And fairness, as Rawls and many others believe, is the essence of justice.

The original position is a central feature of John Rawls’s social contract account of justice, “justice as fairness,” set forth in A Theory of Justice (TJ). The original position is designed to be a fair and impartial point of view that is to be adopted in our reasoning about fundamental principles of justice.

 In taking up this point of view, we are to imagine ourselves in the position of free and equal persons who jointly agree upon and commit themselves to principles of social and political justice. The main distinguishing feature of the original position is “the veil of ignorance”: to insure impartiality of judgment, the parties are deprived of all knowledge of their personal characteristics and social and historical circumstances.

They do know of certain fundamental interests they all have, plus general facts about psychology, economics, biology, and other social and natural sciences. The parties in the original position are presented with a list of the main conceptions of justice drawn from the tradition of social and political philosophy, and are assigned the task of choosing from among these alternatives the conception of justice that best advances their interests in establishing conditions that enable them to effectively pursue their final ends and fundamental interests.

Rawls contends that the most rational choice for the parties in the original position are two principles of justice: The first guarantees the equal basic rights and liberties needed to secure the fundamental interests of free and equal citizens and to pursue a wide range of conceptions of the good. The second principle provides fair equality of educational and employment opportunities enabling all to fairly compete for powers and positions of office; and it secures for all a guaranteed minimum of the all-purpose means (including income and wealth) that individuals need to pursue their interests and to maintain their self-respect as free and equal persons.

An extreme thought-experiment to illustrate this process would be if every child born were put into a lottery as to which parents it would finally be given to, independent of circumstances, would you design a system as now exists, that condemns some children to extreme poverty, some to middle class comforts, and others to lives of wealth and hedonism?


Pope Valley Tree, LLC

Call (707) 965-0205



Our business has built a reputation by word of mouth locally and we have always stood by our word. We believe in personal integrity and customer satisfaction.

We are a green company.  We do not spray, inject or use in any other way, non-organic materials. The health of a tree depends mainly on the health of its root zone, and proper cultural care.  


Coastal Cleanup day


Summer operating hours at Lake Berryessa

Dufer Point Visitor Center
Park rangers will staff the Dufer Point Visitor Center from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends and holidays. Staff will provide answers about visiting the lake, volunteering with our birding program and upcoming events.

Oak Shores Day Use Area
Oak Shores opens daily at 7:30 a.m. all year. In addition, Lake Berryessa employees will extend Oak Shore’s closing hours from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Reserve Oak Shores shade shelters for $25 at www.recreation.gov. Reservations are not accepted on holiday weekends.

Smittle Creek and Eticuera Day Use Area
Smittle Creek and Eticuera are available for hiking, wildlife watching, picnicking and hand-launching watercraft from sunrise until sunset throughout the year. Park rangers will close the parking lot gates at Smittle Creek at 8 p.m., nightly.

Capell Cove Boat Launch
The Capell Cove Boat Launch opens from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. all year, weather permitting.

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 launch ramps, and are great alternatives to Oak Shores and Capell Cove. For information regarding services offered at concession-operated facilities, please call or visit their websites:

Markley Cove- 707-966-2134, www.markleycove.com
Pleasure Cove Marina- 707-966-9600, www.goberryessa.com
Steele Canyon Recreation Area- 707-966-9179, www.goberryessa.com/campground-at-steele-canyon
Spanish Flat Recreation Area- 707-966-0200, www.spanishflatcamping.com
Putah Canyon Recreation Area- 707-966-9051, 

For more information, call the Lake Berryessa Administration office at 707-966-2111, ext. 113 or visit the website at:  http://www.usbr.gov/mp/ccao/berryessa/index.html    



See my 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...


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
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.




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

Lake Berryessa Glory Hole Swallows Senior Center Gambling Bus

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

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

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


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 (6/20/17)

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.


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


Peter’s 75th Birthday Video (Hirez, 3m22s, 203MB )

Peter’s 75th Birthday Video (Lorez, 72MB)

Bill Scholer Birthday Band raw (1:37, 101 Mb, Lorez)

Bird video

ACDC Intros mix


Glory Hole Overflows


pKilkus@gmail.com                       © Peter Kilkus 2018