Will commerce be good in the valley this summer?

Lake Isabella view of poppies from Highway 178

Photos and Story by Catherine Stachowiak 

According to new reports, from the Kern River Watershed, the valley is headed for a more favorable water year at the river, and in connection, at the lake storage levels as well.

These recent changes in the predictions about the water levels posed questions regarding whether the Kernville and Lake Isabella areas would enjoy improved commerce from recreation in the valley this summer. 

President of the Kernville Chamber of Commerce, Orion Sanders said, “I think the rafting season is going to be probably better this year than last year, only because last year the water levels were so high upper-river.  It’s still higher than normal.  But it’s down from what it was last year. They should be running rafting trips a lot more in the upper river than they did last year.”

Sanders believes visitors would want to camp more in the valley and swim this year.  People are able to use Riverside Park, however Sanders mentioned that the beaches there got washed out and are rocky in places. The Kern River is now narrower. And it is deeper at the center.

“I personally think it’s going to be a better season than last year because we’re going to have good recreation water for a longer period of time and all summer long.  That in turn brings more people back. Outfits are already running rafting trips,” said Sanders.  

Fred Clark, president of the Kern River Valley Chamber of Commerce said, regarding Lake Isabella, “I don’t feel we’re going to have enough snow pack to make a significant difference at the lake. I don’t see any great massive difference.  We’re going to be just fine this summer, because we will be sitting at the same levels as now. 

“Where I get concerned is what’s Mother Nature going to do for us next year, because this summer they will draw the lake down, as they do every summer, preparing for next year’s rains. Lets just hope that next year is good for us.”

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