Last month the Monterey County Parks Director appeared on KSBY TV and suggested closing Lake San Antonio permanently including selling the picnic tables and tractors. When I saw that, I called all of the supervisors' offices and expressed as politely as possible the value that the lake brings to the community and the region. Office personnel confided that they were getting a lot of calls and emails and that the supervisors were taking notice.
I spoke with Kathy Forgnone, a local horsewoman associated with Los Robles Equestrian Association and the Horse Camp on the North Shore. We both attended the next supervisors' meeting and spoke up for the lake and it's facilities. The supervisors listened and thanked us without comment. The following supervisors' meeting was the budget meeting. This was the big show down. The word had gotten out that the lake was at risk. This well attended meeting saw 19 people get up and speak on behalf of saving Lake San Antonio, with others there lending their support.
There were several suggestions offered by one of the speakers of ways to draw in more campers in spite of the water level being low. The supervisors listened and echoed these suggestions when later interviewed. The supervisors got the message and voted anonymously to reopen the lake. The supervisors set a target opening date of July 1st which was announced by Supervisor Simon Salinas on the local radio show "Sound Off" with Dan DelCampo on KPRL. This target date was not met because, according to the supervisor's office, the Parks Department head left for a vacation to Italy without assigning the staffing requirements to an associate. So a new target date of July 12th was set. But with only a few days left before he "retires", once again the required effort to install staffing was not addressed. Speaking personally with individual supervisors, I was told "We are totally embarrassed. We have egg on our face".
I was assured that the supervisors are working to overcome the hurdles and road blocks placed by the outgoing parks director. Funding and logistics decisions are on the agenda for the July 19th Board of Supervisors meeting and there will once again be opportunity for public comment. The chief of staff of one of the supervisors said they may not allow watercraft on the lake unless they can fund training for quagga mussel inspectors. This information came to him from the outgoing Parks director. As an experienced boater, As a veteran of multiple quagga inspections I know this hurdle should be simple and easy to overcome by a public servant that is willing to get things done. I plan on attending the lake discussion portion of the Board of Supervisors meeting to offer them my insights and guidance on this matter.
If you would like to send a letter in support of getting the South Shore open this summer you can send it to "Clerk of the Board" ( cob@co. Monterey.ca.us)who will distribute your letter to all of the supervisors. Send with c.c. to the Parks Department (email@example.com). The Clerk will distribute copies to all supervisors.
We have set up a Facebook page to try to give updates as they develop. So visit and "like" "Friends of Lake San Antonio" Facebook Page to stay informed or get involved. The Los Robles Horse Camp is still open on the north shore and being operated by a hard-working band of volunteers. Cheers!
Here is a link to the TV news clip report on our efforts.