Time Keeps Slippin Away for Lake Berryessa

A pall of sadness bordering on despair hangs over the Lake Berryessa community like the physical smoke from far away wildfires that fills the lake now, blurring the Blue Ridge and Berryessa Peak. Unfortunately Richard Farina’s title seems appropriate to the moment. The Bureau of Reclamation’s dogged determination to prevent Pensus progress remains inexplicable. Mediation continues with a deadline of September 14. Congressman Mike Thompson, and his sock puppet surrogates of the radical exclusionist fringe, led by Carol “Lamb Chop” Kunze and Krew, continue their behind-the-scenes shenanigans. Neither has yet to receive the full credit they deserve for the chaos at the lake.

Kunze has now been appointed as the carpetbagger Tuleyome “Napa Representative” by Woodland-based Tuleyome which posted the following event. Apparently Cong. Thompson will also be there at 5:30 PM if you wish to make your opinion known to him. “Come celebrate the merger of Tuleyome and Berryessa Trails & Conservation and our new branch Tuleyome NAPA. This is a free event. Thursday, August 30, 2012 (9am – 4:30pm), 1210 Napa Town Center”

Having watched Finnegan, Lucero, Thompson, & the Kunze Krew in action for many years, when they talk about Lake Berryessa they bring life to the old adage, “If you can see their lips moving you know they’re______” You fill in the blank. Sorry to be so uncharacteristically negative, although my criticism is fair, but time keeps on slippin’, slippin’…I wish I could say that time has been good to Lake Berryessa – but rather it has been a disaster.

Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’…Into the future…
(Steve Miller Band: Fly Like an Eagle – 1976)

The next edition of the Lake Berryessa News (September 12, 2012) will be the final print edition I will publish. I will continue publishing my web site, Facebook page, and email newsletter – more on that later. It’s been fifteen years since I bought my place at Steele Park. Great memories of family and friends enjoying the lake we loved until the local residential and recreational communities were destroyed by the Bureau of Reclamation and their sock puppet surrogates. Seven years since I moved permanently the Berryessa Highlands. Seven years since I joined Shirl Katleba in editing and writing the Lake Berryessa News. Five years since I was forced to pay $3,500 to demolish my mobile home at Steele Park. Five years since I founded the Lake Berryessa Chamber of Commerce. Reviewing seven years of Lake Berryessa News files brings with it quite a bit of nostalgia as when I re-read my first 2005 editorial below. I also found one of my favorite letters to the Register from local sock puppet, Wendy Wallin, describing her view of me back in 2005. Excerpt below:

“I’m wondering if anyone else experienced a chill of dread reading about Peter Kilkus’ plan to move to Berryessa…I was not aware of the extent of Kilkus’ plans to perpetuate environmentally degrading activity at the lake.”

I was reminded of it while reading her delusional letter (July 30, 2012) to the Register supporting the Berryessa Snow Mountain NCA. Some things, and people, never change.

 Here is her 2005 letter and my response – for old times’ sake…

My First Editorial: General Plans, People, and Earth Day (April 18, 2005)

Berryessa for All, the successor organization to Task Force 7 at Lake Berryessa, has been observing the situation at the lake since they lost their lawsuit against the Bureau of Reclamation several years ago. They roar back to life with an indictment of the current state of affairs written by Hank Howard. Hank was a major force in the original battle against the BOR. Reminds me again of the old saying, “Government fails because it pays no price for failure.” Why are Finnegan and Lucero still employed?

Berryessa For All Demands Action in Letter to Interior Secretary Salazar

We are gaining support in our efforts to stop the phony Berryessa Snow Mountain NCA.

 Tuolumne County Chamber of Commerce joins the Berryessa Chamber in opposing the Berryessa Snow Mountain NCA. Read their letter

Tuleyome finally posted their latest NCA map dated July 18, 2012. If anyone can see the difference between this one and the May 12 version, please let me know.

Help Stop the Berryessa Snow Mountain NCA

Many people have asked how to oppose the Berryessa Snow Mountain NCA. One easy way is to write to the House Committee on Natural Resources and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Go to the web site contact pages below and email your opposition. You can copy and paste what you like from the sample letter below or use the whole letter.


You can also send email letters of opposition to the specific contacts listed here:

No on House Bill HR 5545

House Committee On Appropriations, Subcommittee of Energy and Water Development
Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen

Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands – Chairman Rob Bishop

No on Senate Bill SB 3375

US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources – Chairman Jeff Bingaman

Sample Letter

Stop the Berryessa Snow Mountain NCA – H.R. 5545 (or remove Lake Berryessa from it)!

National Conservation Areas were established in order to “conserve, protect, and restore nationally significant landscapes that have outstanding cultural, ecological, and scientific values for the benefit of current and future generations. The proposed Berryessa Snow Mountain NCA is simply unnecessary. It does not meet the basic standard of “nationally significant” as defined in the Act, especially with the inclusion of Lake Berryessa.

It is geographically and ecologically incoherent, unlike many of the existing NCAs. It consists of two separate regions – Lake Berryessa to the south and the Mendocino National Forest to the north – but only half of the Mendocino National Forest because of strong opposition from the Glenn and Colusa County Boards of Supervisors and Congressman Wally Herger. Lake Berryessa is not a nationally significant landscape, nor is it ecologically significant. It is a man-made lake serving as an agricultural resource, drinking water resource, and recreational resource – in that order of priority.

The proposed NCA legislation does not specifically state that concessions, marinas, and motorized recreation are allowed at Lake Berryessa. It will thus allow the Bureau of Land Management to supersede the Bureau of Reclamation’s Visitor Services Plan and Record of Decision with a new land use plan that can eliminate launch ramps, marinas, and much motorized recreation and other recreational uses of the lake.

The economic benefit arguments do not stand up to scrutiny. There are dozens of so-called “gateway communities” surrounding this NCA. They cannot all benefit from modest visitation increases. Hundreds of thousands of people have been eliminated as Lake Berryessa visitors by the Bureau of Reclamation’s destruction of most of the resorts. The NCA will not add any facilities at the lake. There are hundreds of new campsites, RV sites, and lodging units in the plans already approved by Reclamation. Why won’t Reclamation allow them to be built?

This is not an honestly conceived NCA in the spirit of true a NCA. Please read the analysis with policy documents and maps at: www.LakeBerryessaNews.com.

Thank you,

Lake Berryessa Level Update as of Monday, 8/20/12

The elevation of Glory Hole spillway at Monticello Dam is 440′ above mean sea level (msl). Lake level is now at 422.76’ or 17.24’ below Glory Hole. But the heat wave has been intense since August 7: 97 on 8/7, 99 on 8/8, 99, 104, 104, 109, 107, 109, 100, 103, 102, 103, 101 on 8/19.

The Lake Berryessa Watershed Partnership continues its good work. Napa County and the Bureau of Reclamation are cooperating in establishing tighter inspections. In the article below there was almost one that got away – and it wasn’t a fish.

I found an old 1963 map of Lake Berryessa. See how much has changed.

Pre-Historic Lake Berryessa Map: Where are the Highlands and Pines?
In 1965 the Napa Berryessa Resort Improvement District (NBRID) was organized as a resort improvement district with the original intent to provide a full range of municipal services to support the planned development of Berryessa Highlands. In 1971 NBRID was limited to provide only sewer and water services to the District. Berryessa Highlands was projected to become a development of approximately 4,000 residential units and to include various commercial and recreational uses. Currently there are 350 water connections, and 351 sewer connections serving 358 houses and approximately 920 residents.

Spanish Flat Water District was formed in 1963 to provide municipal sewer and water services in support of existing and planned development in Spanish Flat. This included responsibilities for the Spanish Flat Village Center and Spanish Flat Mobile Villa that had been developed in the late 1950s in conjunction with the construction of a nearby recreational resort. SFWD subsequently assumed water and sewer responsibilities for a distinct second service area known as Berryessa Pines, which comprises a 99-lot residential subdivision located approximately seven miles north of Spanish Flat.

We only have a short humor section this month.

Woman Has Bizarre Ability To Share Details About Personal Life With Parents

According to sources, the 28-year-old office manager possesses a mystifying ability to share details of her personal life with her parents, a skill she somehow exercises openly and routinely throughout her week.

The Lake Berryessa News Horoscope

Aries (March 21-April 19): Jupiter has entered your sign, which is usually great, but this time he’ll stay for at least a week longer than is comfortable, use up all your clean towels and toilet paper, and never offer to pay for a damn thing.

Taurus (April 20-May 20): While it’s true you often sit AROUND the house, this has little to do with your weight.

Gemini (May 21-June 21): You’re not the kind of person who is afraid of a little hard work, which in today’s corporate world means you’re pretty much screwed.

Cancer (June 22-July 22): You will experience unbounded happiness and success in every area of your life this week, unless of course there is something fundamentally and irreversibly wrong with you.

Leo (July 23-August 22): Your life story will bring much-needed happiness and laughter to the world, especially the hilarious ending.

Virgo (August 23-September 22): It’s a mixed week for you regarding personal triumphs. You will win a longstanding argument with an obstinate Pisces, but lose your long-running battle with Cancer.

Libra (September 23-October 23): While it’s true that 2012 is your year, that just means you’re responsible for its upkeep and maintenance, so you’d really better get going on that.

Scorpio (October 24-November 21): Your inner beauty makes you shine with the light of a thousand stars, which is appropriate, as in broad daylight you’re actually not that impressive.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21): Your feeling of impending doom shall come to nothing again this week as the world continues to turn and your life goes on as normal. Perhaps you should consider feeling useless and stupid instead.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19): Although the last few weeks have been classic examples of “same crap, different day,” anomalous ripples in the space-time continuum will allow you to experience the same crap, but on the same day over and over.

Aquarius (January 20-Fedruary 18): What you’ll later choose to describe as a “through the looking glass” moment will actually be more of a “down a set of stairs, through a plate-glass window, and out into heavy traffic” sort of afternoon.

Pisces (February 19-March 20): You will slowly come to appreciate the value of silence when everyone seems to want to say things you do not wish to hear.


August 25 - Saturday, – California Inland Fisheries Foundation, Inc. (CIFFI) Lake Berryessa Kokanee Derby, Markley Cove, 6 AM. Kids under 16 fish FREE with a paid adult (2 kids per adult). Entry fee $50 for 16 and above. FREE Kids raffle, Derby Hats to the first 100 adult entries. BBQ Lunch included for all participants. Entry form at: http://ciffi.org/event-calendar/icalrepeat.detail/2012/08/25/7/-/lake-berryessa-derby

August 30 – Thursday: Meeting with Congressman Mike Thompson, 1210 Town Center in Napa, 5:30- 7:30 PM.

September 8th and 9th – Saturday and Sunday: Nichelini Family Winery introduces Nichelini Zinfandel Reserve. 11 am to 5 pm. Anton Nichelini first made Zinfandel in 1890 and it became renowned. Now, Aimée Sunseri, Anton’s great-great-granddaughter, takes it to a new level. 2950 Sage Canyon Road (HWY 128)

Peter Kilkus


1515 Headlands Drive

Napa, CA 94558


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About Mark

Mark Lassagne, born and raised in California is the creator of the popular, BASS ANGLER magazine. Mark a skillful professional angler, outdoor writer, promoter and top competitor on the western tournament circuits. www.marklassagne.com


  1. Susan Huff says:

    I have just become aware of the controversy regarding the fate of Lake Berryessa. I am not fully informed of the situation, but it saddens me deeply. My fondest memories are of summers at the lake on my dad’s houseboat at Spanish Flat during the 60′s. A lot of fun skiing, sailing, swimming, and sharing good times with family and friends.

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