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Reclamation Hosting Spring Events At New Melones Lake
New Melones

The Bureau of Reclamation is hosting a variety of activities from kayaking to counting butterflies this spring at New Melones Lake.

The Painted Pollinator, New Melones Lake Visitor Center, is set for Saturday, April 13 at 6 p.m. Contact park ranger Joshua Pelham at 209-536-9094 ext. 236 or for more info. Butterflies are important pollinators and an essential part of the ecosystem. Join park ranger Joshua Pelham for an evening program on the diversity and history of butterflies, which call the Mother Lode home. This presentation precedes the New Melones Lake butterfly count being held on April 27.

Family Fun Fish Fest, Tuttletown Recreation Area and Eagle Point Picnic Area, Saturday, April 20, 9 a.m. to noon. Contact park ranger Eric Johnson at 209-536-9094 ext. 219 or for more info. As part of Customer Appreciation Day, day use fees to enter New Melones Lake’s recreation areas will be waived. Children 15 years old and under will be provided with fishing poles and bait. The first 100 children in attendance will receive a free tackle box and tackle. Park rangers and volunteers will provide fishing information and assistance if needed. The Saints and Sinners Motorcycle Club will prepare a BBQ lunch for the event participants.

New Melones Lake Butterfly Count, New Melones Lake Visitor Center, Saturday, April 27, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Contact park ranger Joshua Pelham at 209-536-9094 ext. 236 or for more info. Be a citizen scientist and join park rangers in identifying and tagging butterflies around New Melones Lake. Each participant will receive a checklist of common butterflies and materials to conduct the survey. The data collected will be used by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to track butterfly migratory patterns and record species populations across the state. Bring a hat, sunscreen, water and a lunch. Participants are also encouraged to bring butterfly field guides, nets, binoculars and cameras.

Eta Aquarids meteor shower, Tuttletown Recreation Area, Eagle Point Picnic Area, Sunday, May 5, 8 p.m. Contact park ranger Diana Popkins at 209-536-9094 ext. 218 or for more info. The Eta Aquarids is a meteor shower created by debris from Halley’s Comet. The show unfolds with meteors radiating from the constellation Aquarius. Join park ranger Diana Popkins and learn about the meteor shower, the famous comet responsible for it and other astronomical features. Telescopes will be provided.

Natural Bridges hike, Natural Bridges, Saturday, May 11, 10 a.m. Hike with a park ranger and see the upper and lower bridge on Coyote Creek to learn how water and time has shaped the landscape and learn about the local flora and fauna. This is a moderate to strenuous, three-mile, roundtrip hike. Participants may return uphill on their own. Bring water, snacks and wear appropriate shoes. Meet at the Natural Bridges trailhead parking lot off Parrotts Ferry Road at 10 a.m. Dogs are not allowed on the trail.

Water safety and life jacket exchange day, New Melones Lake Visitor Center, Saturday, May 18, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. With the upcoming summer season and refreshing rivers and lakes on hand, it’s time to think about water safety. Being safe while recreating is everyone’s responsibility. New Melones Lake and the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways is providing water safety information, conducting water safety activities, and providing new life jackets, in exchange for old life jackets, to the first 100 participants in this year’s event.

Oak Woodland Foray Glory Hole Recreation Area, Saturday, June 1, 10 a.m. Enjoy the shade and tranquility of an oak woodland on the Angels Creek Trail in the Glory Hole Recreation Area. Join a park ranger at New Melones Lake on a moderate, 2½-mile roundtrip hike. Meet at the Glory Hole entrance station at 10 a.m. and then caravan down to the Angels Creek trailhead. Bring water and sturdy footwear. Participants will be issued a free parking pass for this event.

Paddling Excursion, New Melones Lake Visitor Center, Sunday, June 9, 10 a.m. Contact park ranger Joshua Pelham at 209-536-9094 ext. 236 or to register. Experience New Melones Lake from a unique perspective on a ranger-led four hour paddling tour. The journey begins at the Mark Twain Recreation Area and proceeds up the Stanislaus River Canyon toward Parrotts Ferry. Learn about the area’s flora, fauna, geological formations and cultural history. Participants should be experienced swimmers, bring their own kayak or other non-motorized boat, a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket (properly fitted and serviceable), paddles, sunscreen, hat, water and lunch. Space is limited, and pre-registration is required.

New Melones Lake Dam Overlook, The New Melones Dam, Saturday and Sunday, June 15 and 16, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Contact park ranger Mike McGraw at 209-536-9094 ext. 233 or for more info. This spring the dam overlook gate will open for two weekend days. A park ranger will be available on site to answer questions about the dam and history of New Melones Lake. The overlook is off Old Melones Dam Road /Peoria Flat Road, which can be reached by taking O’Byrnes Ferry Road from Highway 108.

Free school programs: available upon request. Contact park ranger Mike McGraw at 209-536-9094 ext. 233 or for more info. School classes may join a park ranger at New Melones Lake to learn about water and other life-sustaining natural resources. Through interactive lessons and activities, students will gain a firsthand appreciation of local ecosystems. In addition to the on-site learning at the lake, park rangers are available to conduct classroom visits.

Every Kid in a Park: Contact park ranger Mike McGraw at 209-536-9094 ext. 233 or for more info. The Department of Interior’s Every Kid in a Park (EKIP) program aims to introduce every fourth-grade student in the country to their national public lands. The “America the Beautiful EKIP Pass” offers fourth-graders and their families free access to public lands managed by Reclamation, the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, National Forest Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. These agencies waive admission to public lands, including Yellowstone, Yosemite and Grand Canyon National Parks until Aug. 31, 2019. Fourth-grade teachers in the Motherlode can earn an EKIP pass for their students by inviting a New Melones park ranger to their class for a program. Additional information on EKIP may be found at

Junior ranger program and event information: Contact park ranger Mike McGraw at 209-536-9094 ext. 233 or for more info.

For general information about programs and events, including how to become a junior ranger, or additional accommodations contact park ranger Mike McGraw.

The New Melones Lake Administration Office and visitor center and museum are located at 6850 Studhorse Flat Road, Sonora. The administration office is open Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and the visitor center and museum is open Wednesday-Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information call 209-536-9543 or visit the New Melones Lake website at