Most willing to pay for services at East Park, Stony Gorge
A consultant's survey of users indicates most are willing to pay for added services at the East Park and Stony Gorge reservoirs.
That includes local, Bay Area and Sacramento users who expressed a willingness to pay from $5 to $50 per visit on a questionare put out this summer.
Glenn County supervisors heard this and more Tuesday from engineer Scott Lamphier of Parsons Brinckerhoff, the firm hired by Colusa County to do a recreational site feasibility study on the two reservoirs.
Lamphier noted the exact fees to be charged will require more analysis and to identify the capitol and operating costs.
Both Colusa and Glenn counties are considering management of recreational programs at the reservoirs once the US Bureau of Reclamation turns them over to the Orland Unit Water Users Association. That transfer of ownership likely will not occur for another five to eight years, according to Bureau of Reclamation representative Rick Robertson, who noted environmental reviews have yet to be completed.
Supervisors also said the final transfer will take an act of Congress to be done as well.
In the meantime, the two counties are looking at what it would take for them to manage the recreational facilities.
Colusa County has taken the lead with this study, and Glenn County has an ad hoc committee of Supervisors Leigh McDaniel and Dwight Foltz working with Colusa County and other representatives.
The reservoirs are in two counties — East Park is in Colusa County and Stony Gorge is in Glenn County.
As a result, a joint-operations agreement is needed between the counties to operate recreational facilities as one unit, offcials said.
Lamphier's report also said no fees are charged to use the reservoirs now, and they have a wild reputation in some circles.
Stony Gorge has a significant number of established organized campsites with direct access to the reservoir, the report said, and include picnic tables, a fire ring and toilet close by.
There is also one group camping site that is isolated from the rest of the sites.
East Park is similar to Stony Gorge in terms of campsites and related issues.
However, the campsites at both reservoirs do not have potable water, electricity, showers and so on.
Bureau of Reclamation staff collected user information during June and July with 192 questionaires issued.
The data indicated both reservoirs draw users from the Bay area totaling 29 percent, 9 percent from the Sacramento area, 2 percent from Southern California and 60 percent of their users are local from Northern California north of Sacramento.
Stony Gorge has 68 percent of local visitors compared to East Park with 46 percent.
Top five locations for local visitors included Willows, Chico, Vacaville, Corning and Yuba City.
East Park's top five cities for local visitors included Woodland, Vacaville, Maxwell, Fairfield and Chico.
Stays at the reservoirs average three to four days with some going as high as 14 days, Lamphier said.
He added, the reservoirs directly benefit both counties during the tourist season by drawing visitors to the area.
"When the Orland Unit Waters Users take control, we will have better access to that water for both municipal and and ag use," McDaniel said. "They will be more flexible."
No action was taken by the board Tuesday as this was just a report. At least two Colusa County supervisors attended but did not comment.