Revolt Against BOR in 1977

...From 1972 (50 years ago)

Those of you who have read my book, Policy and Politics Betray the People, know that the management of Lake Berryessa was transferred from Napa County back to the Bureau of Reclamation in 1975 because the BOR had made life miserable for the County for several years and the County decided it had had enough. 

From then on through the disastrous Visitor Services Plan process foisted off on the Lake Berryess community in 2000, the BOR continued to basically harrass the resort concessioners and mobile homeowners in various attempts to eliminate them from Lake Berryessa. They were finally successful in 2009.

In my research I discovered a successful 1977 rebellion by local businesse against a heavy-handed BOR Concesssions Manager. I reproduce that September 9, 1977 Lake Berryessa News article here for your review.


Wier Out of Lake Berryessa Management

Announcement was made last Tuesday September 6, 1977, that Robert Wier, Recreation Manager of Lake Berryessa for the Bureau of Reclamation has been "reassigned," temporarily, to the Sacramento Regional office of the Bureau. He will be replaced, also temporarily, by Mr. Brown, who is Chief of Operations and Maintenance, Department of Land and Water Division of the Bureau. 

He will serve until a "highly qualified" permanent replacement can be brought in. Needless to say, the majority of the people in the lake area, especially the, business people and mobilehome owners were jubilant and that is putting it mildly …!!!

A big, big, huge "THANK YOU" goes to Congressman Leo Ryan of the 11th District, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Conservation Energy and Natural Resources. He really took the "bull by the horns," following his recent visit to the lake, where he also took a complete tour. 

Also deserving of much credit for the action is Commissioner Higginson from the Washington D. C. office of the Department of the Interior, who also took the time out of his busy schedule to visit the lake recently.

And now it can be told - here is what, in addition to personal tours, was presented to them, and to others. Under cover of a letter to B. E. Martin, Regional Director, in Sacramento, this is what the Lake Berryessa Council and United Concessioners charged Wier with, and offered absolute proof to back it up, on all charges:


Limited Public Access to Lake Berryessa.

1. Closed minimally developed campsites at Steele Park Resort and Berryessa Marina Resort. Total campsites closed - 584

2. Closed fully developed campsites at Steele Park, Spanish Flat. Berryessa Marina, Putah Creek, South Shore and Markley Cove. Total campsites closed - 277.

Violated the Public Use Plan Development Standards at page 38, No. 2 which states

"Picnic and camp sites may be interchangeable for peak loads." This practice was curtailed by the Recreation Manager on April 1, 1976.

1. Forced removal of picnic tables from Rancho Monticello, Big Flat picnic area, July 15, 1975.

2. Closed Lake Berryessa to houseboats on December 31, 1975.

3. Closed Pope Creek to public access. Installed barrier and signs on west end of Pope Creek in spring of 1977.

4. Refused to allow low water launch ramps during drought at Steele Park and Markley Cove Resorts.

5. Refused to allow relocation of marina facilities during drought at South Shore Resort.

6. Turned down permits for temporary campsites on peak weekends in 1977.

7. Closed original slalom ski course in 1977.

8. Demanded removal of relocated slalom ski course in 1977.

The above actions are contrary to Amendment #2 to the Public Use Plan which states: The management objective at Lake Berryessa will be to provide the greatest good for the greatest number of the public at-large for the largest period of time.

Civil Rights

1. Refused to recognize the civil rights of tenants and concessionaires. California Civil Code 789.5 provides for one year's notice prior to eviction for change or use of a mobile home site. Mr. Wier ordered evictions at Rancho Monticello and Markley Cove in 60 days, based on change of use.

2. California Civil Code 789.3 prohibits the disconnection of utilities to mobile homes in order to force eviction. Mr. Wier ordered disconnection of utilities of mobile home sites at Markley Cove.

3. California Civil Code 789.3 and California Administrat1ve Code Title 25, section 5070 prohibits the blocking of access to a mobile home space. Mr. Wier ordered the access road to Markley Cove mobile home sites permanently blocked.

4. In December 1975, Bob Wier, personally, illegally confiscated 8 docks owned by Rancho Monticello Resort (rented to Berryessa Park homeowners).

Intimidating Tactics

1. Refused permission for improvements to existing facilities unless concessionaires would agree to elimination or change of unrelated facilities.

a. Would not approve berthing facilities unless Berryessa Marina agreed to remove 4 trailer spaces.

b. Would not approve enlargement of campground restrooms unless Berryessa Marina agreed to widen roads in the mobile home park area.

c. Refused to permit Marina and Campground upgrading at Putah Creek Park unless mobile home park roads were made larger.

2. Threatened to put in free launch ramp unless resorts lowered rates. This is contrary to Amendment #2 of the Public Use Plan. See section B, paragraph 4.

3. Constantly threatens the resort owners with default.

Health and Safety

The Bureau of Reclamation, since 1958, has continually required compliance with Health and Safety codes. Mr. Wier has violated this policy by:

1. Removed garbage collection points from shoreline of the lake.

2. Removed garbage cans along Highway 128 from the Monticello Dam to Moskowite Corner, from January 1976 to August 1976.

3. Allowed campers on Bureau land to drop sewage from recreational vehicles on ground. 1976.

4. Put no restraint on persons building fires in unauthorized and undeveloped areas. 1976.

5. Hindered the upgrading of water and sewage systems in the resorts.

6. There are no established written policies concerning the Bureau lands outside the resorts.

False and Misleading Statements

1.  1976 Press releases (prior to 4th of July) that misled the public. Resorts were not full, but the Bureau staff was telling families that all re­ sorts were full.

2. 1976 July 4th had road signs placed on Highway,121 saying resorts were full when they were not full.


a. Many people were denied access to the lake.

b. Business loss for the entire Berryessa area.

Codes and Standards

1. Interfered with the issuance of operating permits.

2. Conducts inspections using untrained and unqualified personnel as inspectors.

3. Interfered with the issuance of occupancy permits.

4. Refuses to rely on the enforcement powers of Napa County.

5. Refuses to acknowledge past agreements concerning development standards.


1. Mr. Wier has stated-publicly and privately that he is personally opposed to Amendments #2 and #3 to the Public Use Plan.

2. Mr. Wier has shown that he is op­posed to the development’s standards of the Public Use Plan concerning camp­ sites, picnic sites, and roads.

3. Mr. Wier does not seek out and meet with the public or the concessionaires prior to formulating new policies or making decisions which affect them

4. Mr. Wier uses his office to oppose development on private land.

**********                       © Peter Kilkus 2021