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GO EXPLORE BY AND ON THE LAKE

New Melones Reservoir offers free Autumn interpretive programs

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GO EXPLORE BY AND ON THE LAKE

A man surveys the water level at New Melones before putting his canoe in the water.

Photo contributed/


POSTED September 27, 2013 10:10 p.m.

SONORA  – The Bureau of Reclamation announces the autumn interpretive programs at New Melones Reservoir.

These Ranger-led activities support the Department of the Interior’s Let’s Move Outside initiative (http://www.letsmove.gov/lets-move-outside) which encourages children and their families to enjoy outdoor activities that abound in every city, town and community. All activities are free and suitable for all ages; most do not require reservations. Participants should wear sturdy shoes and clothing appropriate for the weather. A water bottle and sunscreen are recommended. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.



Melones Branch
of the Sierra Railway

Sunday, Oct. 13, 10 a.m.

Peoria Wildlife Management Area

Traverse the historic route of the Melones Branch of the Sierra Railway and discover how the Melones Dam was built! This is a moderate 4-mile roundtrip hike. Meet at the Peoria Wildlife Equestrian Staging Area on Peoria Flat Road at 10 a.m.



Mormon Creek Paddle

Saturday, Oct. 19, 10 a.m.

Tuttletown Recreation Area

Experience the beauty of New Melones from a unique perspective on this ranger-led paddling tour. The launch is fom Tuttletown, hugging the shoreline past the campgrounds and up Mormon Creek. Along the way, you will look for river otters, bald eagles, osprey and other wildlife. This outing is open to experienced swimmers with their own kayak or other non-motorized boat. Expect to be out for 3 hours. Participants need to bring their own boat, U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket (properly fitted and serviceable), paddles, sunscreen, hat, water and lunch. Each child under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Please contact Ranger Hilary at 209-536-9094 ext. 236 to reserve your place. Meet at the Tuttletown Entrance Station at 10 a.m. Participants will be given a parking pass for the duration of the event.



Creepy Crawlies
of Natural Bridges

Sunday, Oct. 27, 10 a.m.

Natural Bridges

Come out for a hike to discover some of the “scary” critters at New Melones Lake. Find out about their importance to our ecosystem and why they’re really not scary at all! Rangers will bring microscopes to examine some of the creepy crawlies we find along the way. This is a moderate-to-strenuous hike, 2 miles round-trip; participants may return uphill on their own. Please bring water and snacks and wear shoes appropriate for hiking. Meet at the Natural Bridges Trailhead parking lot off of Parrotts Ferry Road at 10 a.m. Dogs are not allowed on the Natural Bridges trail.



Eagles and Osprey
Kayaking Tour

Saturday, Nov. 2, 10 a.m.

New Melones Lake Visitor Center

Coyote Creek is the home of year-round raptors! Join Ranger Hilary on this kayaking-birding adventure. We will launch from the Mark Twain Day Use Area and then traverse across the lake and up Coyote Creek. This will be a strenuous paddling tour. Expect to be out on the water for 4 to 5 hours. This outing is open to experienced swimmers with their own kayak or other non-motorized boat. Participants need to bring their own boat, U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket (properly fitted and serviceable), paddles, sunscreen, hat, water and lunch; waterproof binoculars are recommended. Space is limited, and pre-registration is required. Please contact Ranger Hilary at 209-536-9094 ext. 236 to reserve your place. Meet at the New Melones Lake Visitor Center at 10 a.m.



Geocaching Tuttletown’s Trails

Sunday, Nov. 10, 10 a.m.

Tuttletown Recreation Area

There’s gold in those hills! Ranger Greg has hidden trinkets along the trails in Tuttletown, and it’s your job to find them! Cash in on the Geocaching craze and join us in Tuttletown! This is a moderate 3-mile roundtrip hike. Meet at the Tuttletown Entrance Station at 10 a.m. Please bring your GPS unit or download an app on your phone before the event. Participants will be given a parking pass for the duration of the event.



Peddle Peoria!

Saturday, Nov. 16, 10 a.m.

Peoria Wildlife Management Area off of Peoria Flat Road

There are miles and miles of undiscovered trails on the other side of the lake! Join Ranger Alicia on this strenuous mountain-biking excursion and find out what goes on on the south side of the lake. Participants need to bring their own bike, helmet and safety equipment. Space is limited; pre-registration is required. To register, please contact Ranger Hilary at 209-536-9094 ext. 236. Meet at the Peoria Wildlife Equestrian Staging Area on Peoria Flat Road at 10 a.m.



Capture Composition
in 10 Ways

Sunday, Nov. 24, 10 a.m.

Angels Creek Trail, Glory Hole Recreation Area

You don’t need expensive or fancy equipment to take meaningful photographs: composition before you click is the true key to success. Bring your camera or cell phone and get some pointers on pictures! This will be a moderate 2.5-mile hike along the Angels Creek Trail. Meet at the Glory Hole Entrance Station at 10 a.m. and then caravan down to the Angels Creek Trailhead. Participants will be given a parking pass for the duration of the event.



Mark Twain’s Trials,
Tales and Trails

Saturday, Nov. 30, 10 a.m.

New Melones Visitor Center

Step back in time to experience Mark Twain’s past while we follow the Sierra Railroad’s tracks that traverse through the winding foothills from Angels Camp to Jamestown. This is an easy 2.5-mile hike. Meet at the New Melones Visitor Center at 10 a.m. and then caravan to the Stevenot Bridge.



Carson Creek’s Cultural Kayaking Tour

Sunday, Dec. 8, 10 a.m.

Glory Hole Recreation Area

Carson Creek is filled with history. Explore what the receding water levels reveal from the past. Launching from Glory Hole Point, we will hug the shoreline past the marina and up Carson Creek. This outing is open to experienced swimmers with their own kayak or other non-motorized boat. Expect to be out for 3 to 4 hours. Participants need to bring their own boat, U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket (properly fitted and serviceable), paddles, sunscreen, hat, water and lunch. Space is limited; pre-registration is required. Please contact Ranger Hilary at 209-536-9094 ext. 236 to reserve your place. Meet at the Glory Hole Entrance Station at 10 a.m. Participants will be given a parking pass for the duration of the event.



Everything Is Connected

Saturday, Dec. 14, 10 a.m.

New Melones Visitor Center

Everything is dependent on everything else. You cannot remove a single entity without causing a chain reaction in the ecosystem. Join us on a short journey along the Norwegian Gulch Trail and find out how we are all connected. This is an easy 1-mile hike. We will meet at the New Melones Visitor Center at 10 a.m.



French Flat Frisbee Golf

Sunday, Dec. 22, 10 a.m.

French Flat

Come out for the fun of our first-ever Frisbee Golf interpretive program! Rangers will set a course filled with clues about the natural and cultural history of New Melones Lake. Hit the targets, gain the clues and answer the questions to win a prize! This will be a 9-hole course set in the rambling oak woodlands of French Flat. Participants will be walking through tall grass, so long pants and your own Frisbee are required. Meet at the corner of Shell and Rawhide Roads at 10 a.m. and then caravan down to French Flat for a great game of Frisbee Golf!



If This Rock Could Talk

Saturday, Dec. 28, 10 a.m.

Table Mountain

Join us on a hike though time and discover the geologic wonders of Table Mountain. Learn where this lava flow originated and the processes that occurred to create such a beautiful landmark. This is a challenging 3-mile hike with a ¼-mile series of steep, rocky switchbacks that lead to the top for grand views of New Melones Lake. Meet at the corner of Shell and Rawhide Roads at 10 a.m.

If you would like to participate in a program and need accommodation, please contact Park Ranger Tracy Neal at 209-536-9094 ext. 215 or tneal@usbr.gov a minimum of 14 days in advance.

The New Melones Visitor Center and Museum is managed by Reclamation’s Central California Area Office and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For additional information on activities, directions, pet restrictions or other questions, please call 209-536-9543 (TTY 800-877-8339) or visit the New Melones Lake Website at http://www.usbr.gov/mp/ccao/newmelones/index.html.

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