With summer fast approaching, wanderlust fills the heart. Dreams of summer river adventures and National Park camping trips are what foremost come to mind. Unfortunately, California’s pervasive drought has left water levels low which impact many traditional summer activities. California’s snowpack only reached 12% of the average this year and the effects are already being felt. Yosemite National Park is recommending visitors come early this year if they want to visit the waterfalls. The park expects the waterfalls to dry up by mid-summer and spokeswoman, Lisa Cesaro, told the Los Angeles Times, “If you want to enjoy our majestic waterfalls, come now.” Additionally, Yosemite’s Glacier Point Road, that takes adventurers to a breathtaking lookout, has already opened; this is the earliest the lookout has been open in history. Yosemite is focusing its efforts on advertising their premier camping, biking, and backpacking locations rather than their water features.
Local rivers, including the Yuba, Bear, and American River are experiencing water levels even lower than last year and the majority of lakes and reservoirs are at half capacity, if not lower, which does not bode well for summer visitors. Local campgrounds are also likely to impose severe camping restrictions this summer (as they did last year) due to an increased wildfire risk. This daunting situation is also worrying local businesses that thrive on the tourism that the beautiful Sierra Foothills region receives during the summer months.
To ensure a fabulous summer vacation, plan appropriately and soon. If visiting magnificent waterfalls is on the list then make an attempt to visit Codfish Falls Trail or make your trip to Yosemite early in the season. If basking by a thunderous river in Nevada or Placer County was your plan, then just be aware that by late summer it will be more of a placid daytrip. Brainstorm creative summer activities so the family isn’t unprepared for the summer water restrictions that will prevent the kids from running through the sprinklers all day. The drought doesn’t have to bring your summer plans to a halt, but by planning summer activities early everyone can make certain they have a fulfilling season, and as always, remember to conserve water!
By Alyssa Harmon