Letters To the Editor

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Thanks for considering,
Julie Gray, subscriber

Dear Editor,

There is talk about creating a brand new Lake Isabella Visitors Center. I love the idea yet am very opposed to spending millions of dollars on land purchase and construction of a new building when we have a brand new Forest Service building with a parking area, has hours, maps, and information and could also have information about the Kern River Valley and Lake Isabella. Or renovate 155 and Lake Isabella the now defunct Bank of America building at an ideal location on the corner of highway 155 and Lake Isabella Blvd.
These millions of dollars for a new visitor’s center could be better spent on:

• Building a causeway bridge at Sierra Way/South Fork and other overdue infrastructure repairs/improvements.
• Hiring personnel for our embarrassingly understaffed Government Center, which could have a great impact on helping our local Veterans, Seniors and Low-Income residents.
• Giving decent cost-of-living raises to our Deputy Sheriffs so that we can stop the sky-high turnover rate at our substation.
• Funding the local organizations who help address our growing homelessness problem.

I say to you Congressman McCarthy, be a fiscal Republican and don’t squander a massive amount of money when we have a serious infrastructure and social crisis in our valley that is being ignored?

Ellen Schafhauseer
Weldon, CA 93283

I am responding to a letter in the September 4, 2019 issue of the Bakersfield Californian, page B4. The writer is Ellen Schafhauser of Weldon. The gist of her letter is that she is opposed to the Kern River Valley getting a visitor center and she cites several areas that she believes would be better candidates for the money the visitor center will cost. I personally find it troubling that a local resident would voice her opposition at this late date.

Since well before 2015 many residents of the Kern River Valley have worked closely with the Corps of Engineers and Congressman Kevin McCarthy to insure that an acceptable visitor center is built as an adjunct of the Lake Isabella Dam Safety Modification Project. This visitor center will replace the one that had to be demolished due to the modification project. The preferred location for the new visitor center is on the Powers Gateway Tract near the intersection of Highways 178 and 155 in Lake Isabella.

The economy of the Kern River Valley is driven by tourism. Fishing, camping, hiking and other outdoor activities are the cornerstone of our lovely valley. A visitor center is the place where tourists get information on each of these activities in addition to talking to employees of the Forest Service and other agencies At the present time, the temporary visitor center is located inside the Forest Service Fire Station in Lake Isabella and consists of a mere counter. There are no signs to even let tourists know that there is information available inside the station. It was my understanding that a permanent visitor center would be constructed after the modification project is complete and would be site specific due to its location near wetlands. The former visitor center simply must be replaced with a new one that will make local residents, County, State and Federal governments proud.

I want the readers of the Bakersfield Californian to be aware that Ellen Schafhauser does not speak for the majority of the residents of the Kern River Valley.

Karene R. Williams
Lake Isabella, CA