Welcome To Our Newest Advertiser

Puritii- with comps


Special Notice

Response to our community rummage sale fundraiser “Helping Hand” is so far, low, and if we do not receive enough interest for booth space we may have to cancel the event. If people are interested in renting a space please contact Terri Lee at 707-373-5177.

helping hands flyer - 2017 PDF


New Open AA Meeting at Lake Berryessa!! - August 7

Starting August 7th there will be a new open meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous at Lake Berryessa. The meetings will take place on Tuesdays at the Community Church of Lake Berryessa. There will be two times on Tuesdays, one at 1:00 pm and another at 6:00pm. So come and join us at Faith and Unity at the Lake.

Faith and Unity at the Lake

Community Church of Lake Berryessa, 6008 Steele Canyon Road

For any questions call Judy at (530) 391-2145.

AA Flyer


Help Wanted

HELP WANTED at the Spanish Flat Recreation Area 

Part Time/Seasonal - Gate/Maintenance 

$10.50 per hour must have a clean DMV record. 

Please pick up application at The Spanish Flat Country Store. 

We are a drug free work place.



Lake Level - July 20, 2017

Lake Level is now at 435.9 feet - 4.1' below Glory Hole. I just received this beautiful photo of an overflowing Glory Hole from George Grossman of the Napa Valley Photographic Society. Nice memory.

Glory Hole photo club


Napa County Looks to Revitalize Lake Berryessa Tourism 

Through Federal Partnership

Here’s a good summary of the present status of the process to revitalize Lake Berryessa. The best part is the positive on-record comments by both the Bureau of Reclamation and Napa County staff.


Rainbow into lake Teed


Milestone Achieved! A Positive Report on the Potential Future 

Rebirth of Lake Berryessa

More than a year since  the Lake Berryessa News began the campaign to give Lake Berryessa management back to Napa County, a major milestone in that campaign has arrived. A 434-page Lake Berryessa marketing report done by Ragatz Realty was just presented to the County and to the Bureau of Reclamation. Reclamation will review and comment on the report by July 3.  Ragatz will formally present this report at the Aug. 1 Board of Supervisors meeting.

But first a bit of historical background for context. For a detailed timeline see http://lakeberryessanews.com/what-happened-at-lake-berry.html

Monticello Dam was finished in 1958 and Lake Berryessa filled. By the end of 1959, Napa County had awarded seven long-term (30 year) concession agreements to newly formed resorts to provide recreation services. Leased mobile home sites provide revenue needed to support short-term uses such as camping and launching.

But in 1975, after years of fruitless discussion and debate with Reclamation regarding the Lake Berryessa management agreement, Napa County turned lake recreation management back to Reclamation.

In 2000 the Bureau of  Reclamation began a to develop a Visitor Services Plan to redevelop the lake. Their primary goal was to remove all mobile homes from the lake while replacing the existing resort owners with a single company to run all the resorts. Reclamation’s search for concessionaires to redevelop and run the resorts still remains stalled after several false starts during the last 10 years.

Reclamation adopted a 2006 Record of Decision followed by a Bid Prospectus to renovate the resorts with new marinas, lodges, campgrounds, restaurants and other features. In 2009, the agency received $4.4 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act money which was, unfortunately, only used to demolish the existing resort infrastructure rather than provide any improvements to facilities. Millions of dollars in functional facilities were simply demolished.

Two bid prospectus attempts finally resulted in a contract with Pensus in 2010 which ultimately failed. A third bid prospectus received no bids by the end of 2016.

In February, 2016, the Lake Berryessa News and Lake Berryessa Chamber of Commerce began a Renaissance Lake Berryessa campaign aimed at returning management of Lake Berryessa to Napa County. They actively campaigned for this goal during the following months.

In June, 2016 Napa County Supervisors directed staff to enter into negotiations for a Managing Partner Agreement between the County and Reclamation for the management of Lake Berryessa.

By January, 2017 discussions between Napa County and Reclamation had proceeded positively enough to result in the supervisors directing staff to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Reclamation and also a contract with Ragatz Sedgwick Realty who would assist the County in identifying interested concession partners by marketing the opportunity to the resort community and performing a feasibility analysis to determine the best use of each site.

There are several benefits with county management of the resorts. The county has more flexibility than Reclamation. For example, instead of issuing a request for proposals and waiting for potential concessionaires to respond, the county can market the Berryessa opportunity to resort companies. About 300 companies worldwide do this type of resort development. Some may not want to work with the federal government.

A key piece of information could be known by the end of the June. The county wants to offer 55-year contracts to run resorts, but needs permission from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for this longer-than-usual time frame. The Bureau of Reclamation offered 30-year contracts when it sought new Lake Berryessa concessionaires. At the end of the contracts, the marinas, parking lots, water systems and other infrastructure installed by the companies would be owned by the federal government. This requirement and the short contract term were the “poison pills” that discouraged interest from large resort companies. In a modest change to policy, Reclamation just signed a contract with Markley Cove Resort for a 30 year contract, but with a possible 10 year extension for a total of 40 years.

In January, Richard Ragatz and his colleagues began touring the closed resorts, gathering information, and meeting with, among others, the Bureau of Reclamation, Visit Napa Valley staff, and members of the Board of Directors of the Lake Berryessa Chamber of Commerce. A survey of more than 3,000 people in the region found that 92 percent are interested in visiting Lake Berryessa, if it has the right facilities.

Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza, who has consistently approached this process with a positive outlook, sees the county making progress. “I think this is an exciting time for Lake Berryessa,” Pedroza said. Other supervisors have been supportive.

In an interesting bit of historical turnaround, John Tuteur, Napa County’s Assessor and Registrar of Voters, who was a Napa Supervisor in 1975, told the County supervisors at their June 20th meeting that one of his platforms when he successfully ran for the Board of Supervisors in 1972 was to end county management of Berryessa resorts. But 45 years later Tuteur said circumstances have changed. With the professional assistance of Visit Napa Valley, Napa County has a better grasp on the importance, management requirements, and effects of tourism.

“I think the county can do a superb job in helping to run the resorts,” Tuteur told the supervisors.

The five recreation areas the county could manage are Berryessa Point (previously Berryessa Marina), Monticello Shores (previously Rancho Monticello), Putah Canyon (previously Putah Creek), Spanish Flat and Steele Canyon (previously Steele Park). Of these, Berryessa Point and Monticello Shores are closed and the other three are operated in stripped-down versions under interim contracts. Pleasure Cove Marina and Markley Cove Marina, two of the smallest of the smallest of the previous seven, are operating at full strength under formal contracts with Reclamation.

The following table shows the economic loss to the local and extended Lake Berryessa community. Much of the revenue went to employees and local suppliers of goods and services. The appraised value was stupidly driven to zero by Reclamation’s decision to demolish all operational facilities. Having to start all over with multi-million dollar investments to redevelop the resorts has been a major, and unnecessary (too late now), stumbling block to recruiting potential recreation companies.

Resort revenue table

 The practical implications for the Berryessa Highlands, for example, of the rebirth of the Lake Berryessa as premier recreation destination are profound. How about a thriving Corners bar, restaurant, store? How about a fully functioning Steele Canyon marina with gas and a couple of hundred boat slips - and a good restaurant with a dynamite view - within 5 minutes of your home? How about at least one functioning gas station? Steele Park had 50 full-time employees. How about 600 new local jobs around the lake? That was a Pensus planning estimate. How about increasing property values to homeowners?

As this process unfolds the Lake Berryessa News and Lake Berryessa Chamber of Commerce sincerely ask Napa residents to encourage their supervisors to support a Renaissance Lake Berryessa.





Napa County and tthe Bureau of Reclamation Agreement


Summer collage


Summer 2017 is here, so it's time to go wakesurfing and check out the Monticello Dam with California Marine Sports and their Supra Boats.

We'll start with a visit to Monticello Dam and the World Famous Glory Hole Spillway to send off winter. Then we'll show off how easy, fun, and safe it is to get out and wakesurf. As you will see at the end of this video, if a kid can make it look so easy, you can do it too!


Glory Hole Spillway Unofficial (Assisted) 2017 Overflow Dates:

The First Day Lake Berryessa water flowed into Glory Hole: February 12th 

The Last Day Lake Berryessa water flowed into Glory Hole: June 4th 


Thanks to California Marine Sports for helping to make this winter so much fun! CMS and their great friends are looking for volunteers with boats for an event that takes kids and families, who otherwise couldn't afford to have this fun, out for a day on the lake.

Wednesday, August 3rd, Rollins Lake www.WakeTheWorld.org. Be there!

California Marine Sports wants to thank Steele Canyon Recreation Area for being a great host for their 2017 Customer Appreciation Weekend!

Drone Video & Edit: Evan K.

Safety Reminder: These were experienced drivers and riders, in a controlled area. Stay at least 100' from other boats while driving at all times.  


CeCe 910 Cape Cod 06-27-17a


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.

LBMap & Info Summer 2017



262 Sugarloaf Jul2017


120 Parkview Jul2017a



Please Support Our Advertisers

Advertisers Page Jun17R


July 2017

LBNews Pg 12&1 Jul17

Click to download this issue.


The Cleanest Lake In Northern California Is 

FULL And OPEN For Summer Fun! 


Marty Rental Ad 040717


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.

It was the second largest annual increase in the history of the lake.

It was also the second highest level the lake has reached in its 58 year history.

The lake has only spilled into Glory Hole 26 times in those 58 years. Also the rainfall total (47.1 inches as of 5/8/17) is the highest in 20 years.

The first video shows how low the lake was 2 years ago. You should watch it before the others to get some perspective on the amazing rise of the lake in 2017.



Full lake level history 2015



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 - 2017

by Peter Kilkus

Download a PDF of the history timeline here.

How Could the Government Have Done Something So Stupid?

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 Bureau of Reclamation destroyed family recreation at Lake Berryessa for a generation of children. 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".




Download PDF of this report (2 MB)


Exciting New Game Fishing Opportunity at Lake Berryessa    


Winters Express logo

The Winters Express


Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument Report

pkilkus@gmail.com                       © Peter Kilkus 2017