I sometimes think that moving here has made me more conservative (in the fiscal sense). I don't remember paying for park entry, parking, or launching during the summer I paddled on the 11 Finger Lakes. If we encountered someone who told us to pay, we could drive down the next dirt road and find a free spot to put-in. Also, night paddles are not illegal in NY. What I really wanted to do on Saturday was to have a peaceful sunset paddle on the reservoir, but I had to be off the water by 6:30pm (1.5 hours before sunset)...
I do understand why they have these (incredibly complicated) rules and fees. Virtually every freshwater lake within an hour drive is a source of drinking water for the Bay Area. It's important to protect these from any sort of contamination, so adding fees and inspections and prohibiting bodily contact keeps the number of visitors down and ensures that the water stays potable.
There are just too many people here.
Parking pass: $6.50
Launch fee: $3.50
Boat inspection fee: $6 (I guess if they'd done this in NY we wouldn't have so many zebra mussels... I was able to talk my way out of this by insisting that my boat had not seen water in 8 months)
Total = $16 for a 2 hour paddle (and you can't even practice rolling!)
I like to keep my feet dry, so avoiding bodily contact was not really an issue. I spent two hours paddling out to the north end of the reservoir (where the dam is) and back. There were quite a few motor boats and fishermen/kids out enjoying the sunshine.
Easy Bay Municipal Utility District owns many of the reservoirs supplying water to the Bay Area. Reservoirs are often connected in series. San Pablo Creek was dammed with an earthen dam to create the reservoir, but it isn't the main contributor of water. The Briones Reservoir and the Pardee Reservoir (in the Sierras) both drain into the San Pablo Reservoir.
From what I could tell (flooded picnic tables) the water levels seem to be back up, if not higher! Maybe this is a precaution since the snowpack is virtually non-existent this year.
Date: Saturday, May 5, 2012
Duration: 2 hours
Distance: ~ 6 miles