Who Will Run The New Lake Berryessa Resorts?

The Lake Berryessa News, since March, 2016, has been advocating that the federal government turn over the ownership and management of Lake Berryessa to Napa County. Significant, if slow, progress has been made in that direction during 2017. Napa County and the Bureau of Reclamation are negotiating a Managing Partner Agreement under which Napa County will manage several of the Lake Berryessa Recreation Areas. 

Napa County has released a Request For Information and Interest (RFII) seeking interested recreation management companies who would potentially become concession managers under contract to the County. The target date for selection of concession contractors and completion of negotiations is Summer, 2018.

But what governance structure will be created by Napa County to actually manage the future revitalization of Lake Berryessa?

There have been recent  proposals for some management involvement by the existing Napa County Regional Park and Open Space District (RPOSD). The Lake Berryessa News strongly opposes any involvement of the RPOSD in the Lake Berryessa management structure. 

The Lake Berryessa Recreation Areas are neither “parks” nor “open spaces”. The RPOSD is a small agency with few resources and no technical expertise in managing large, full service recreation facilities. It’s basic goal is preservation, not recreation.

A major negative of the RPOSD is that its Board is elected directly by Napa County voters. The rural areas of Napa County are already at a political disadvantage since most of the county’s voters are in urban areas with little knowledge of, nor interest in, Lake Berryessa.

Lake Berryessa Recreation Commission

Lake Berryessa is not another “lake in the country”. It is a major economic, social, and recreation resource in an urban-proximate setting with significant value to Napa County. 

I believe a special Lake Berryessa-only commission should be created reporting directly to the Napa County Board of Supervisors. This was the original, successful form of governance when Napa County managed the lake from 1958 until 1975.

I propose a Lake Berryessa Recreation Area Commission consisting of nine to eleven members with the professional expertise and the competence needed to make the Lake Berryessa recreation areas successful and profitable family recreation destinations.

Members could include the Directors of the Napa County Public Works and Planning Departments, members of the Board Directors of Visit Napa Valley - Napa’s premier tourism association, other Napa recreation and hospitality management professionals, finance and contract experts, sustainability design consultants, and business owners and residents of the Lake Berryessa region who have prior personal and professional experience related to the former profitable resorts.

pKilkus@gmail.com                       © Peter Kilkus 2018