News Release

For Release:  May 8, 2007       
Contact:  Diane Simpson (661) 391-6120 or Steve Larson (661) 391-6099
CA-CC-07-40

BLM Temporarily Closes Recreation Sites along the North Fork of the Kaweah River

The Bureau of land Management is temporarily closing approximately 560 acres of BLM-managed lands along the North Fork of the Kaweah River to protect both visitors and the natural resources.  Public lands surrounding the Paradise, Advance and Cherry Falls recreation sites will be temporarily closed.

The emergency closure is effective May 24 and will remain in effect until the Bakersfield Field Office completes a revision to the current resource management plan and an activity plan to establish permanent rules for the public use of the property.

“The closure is necessary to protect visitors to public lands.  Overcrowding at these sites creates a dangerous situation and visitors could be trapped if a wildfire started and a rapid evacuation was necessary. We also need to protect public lands and facilities,” said Patty Gradek, acting BLM Bakersfield Field Office manager.

The recreation sites receive a significant amount of public use including picnicking and water recreation during the summer months.  The existing infrastructure including the access road, parking areas and sanitation facilities is inadequate to accommodate the large numbers of visitors, creating unsafe and unsanitary conditions.
 
“BLM has made several attempts to address the issue of overcrowding and the illegal activities occurring at the sites.  These attempts have had limited success and proven to be very costly,” Gradek said.  

Closure signs will be posted at main entry points to this area.  Gates and fencing will be installed to exclude all vehicle entry and parking.

Persons guilty of violating the closure may be subject to the penalties provided in 43 Code of Federal Regulations 8360.0-7, which include a fine not to exceed $1,000 and/or imprisonment not to exceed 12 months.

For more information contact the Bureau of Land Management, Bakersfield Field office, 3801 Pegasus Drive, Bakersfield, Calif. 93308; call Diane Simpson at (661) 391-6120 or Steve Larson at (661) 391-6099.

-BLM-

 Bakersfield Field office, 3801 Pegasus Drive, Bakersfield, Calif. 93308