Wednesday was the final day of public commentary for the proposed smoking ban on public beaches at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area.
On Tuesday, however, Whiskeytown Superintendent Jim Milestone said letters and e-mails sent this week would all be viewed as part of the record.
Photo by Brian Rueb, courtesy nationalparks.org.
At issue is a ban on smoking on the public beaches at Brandy Creek, Oak Bottom, East Beach (known by many as Dog Beach) and the Whiskey Creek Group Picnic Site. Visitors could still smoke at designated sites away from the beach areas.
The ban wouldn’t apply to smoking along the rest of the 34 miles of shoreline around the lake.
Thus far, much of the public commentary has been in support of of the ban, although there have been some opponents who have spoke out as well. To comment, write to email@example.com.
My personal opinion — it seems reasonable to ban smoking directly on those public beaches. It’s pretty harsh to set up on the sand with your kids then suddenly have to breathe someone else’s smoke. Smokers would have to take a short walk away from the beach.
Another issue is people snuffing out cigarette butts in the sand and leaving them there. Milestone said the park is committed to preserving the best water quality it can for the lake.
Trash is one issue that has boggled my mind about Whiskeytown. Last year in one of my favorite coves, I found a big bag of fast food trash and soda cans strewn all over the place. There were full cans of Pepsi bobbing in the lake.
But that’s nothing.
Milestone came across an area along the shoreline where people had left more than a dozen dirty diapers. Many were up in trees. Right here is where most rational humans are thinking: How does ANYONE do that?
Milestone said it’s difficult for rangers to catch people in the act of that kind of littering. If you happen to see someone obviously trashing the lake, call 911 and a ranger will be dispatched.
The smoking and trash issues are fairly substantial as some 300,000 people visit Brandy Creek Marina each summer, said Milestone. (That number surprised me, although last summer Whiskeytown did seem to be crawling with people.)
Here are some other goings on at Whiskeytown:
• The week of April 19-23 is Waterfall Week at the park. Some 700 students are already signed up for day trips to hike to Whiskeytown Falls (which is really robust right now). The park is looking to sign up more students.
• Right now is a good time for a hike (or mountain bike ride) on the new section of trail from Brandy Creek (the trail starts at Sheep Camp) to Boulder Creek via Papoose Pass. It’s 2.7 miles from Sheep Camp to the Papoose Pass summit where there are lots of old growth trees — insense cedar, ponderosa pine and Douglas fir.
• Over the next few months, a trail will be built that connects Papoose Pass with Shasta Bally Road. It will open up a new loop option right on Shasta Bally.
The great photo of Whiskeytown above is by Brian Rueb. Here’s a link to his site.