By Paul Doherty
California experienced record-setting rain and snowfall this winter, ending the drought, refilling our reservoirs and lakes, and dumping massive amounts of snow on our mountains.
For the outdoors enthusiast, this means that adventures abound, but it also represents a need to take extra precaution throughout the spring and summer as there are higher lake levels and faster (and colder) river flows.
To help safely navigate the fun summer recreational activities throughout Northern and Central California, PG&E has released its 2017 Summer Safety Guide. The guide is also available in Chinese and Spanish.
This mobile-friendly guide is intended to serve as inspiration for recreational outing ideas, as a reference for safety tips, and as a resource to ensure that safety is a part of everyone’s summertime fun.
Here are five ideas of fun things to do this summer within PG&E’s service area:
Go for a hike. California’s diverse topography and seemingly endless natural beauty make for great hiking just about anywhere. PG&E offers free, guided tours of two spectacular coastal trails along the Central Coast near Diablo Canyon:
- The Pecho Coast Trail is located on the south end of PG&E property and accessed through Avila Beach. Choose from two guided hikes, the 3.75-mile roundtrip hike to Point San Luis Lighthouse and the 8-mile roundtrip hike to Rattlesnake Canyon. Both offer panoramic views of Avila Beach and California gray whales can be seen spouting offshore.
- The Point Buchon Trail offers some of the most scenic views of the coastline, perfectly preserved and protected. The trail is a 6.6 mile roundtrip hike located on the northern end of PG&E property and is accessed through Montaña de Oro State Park. Golden eagles, peregrine falcons, brown pelican, southern sea otter and a wide variety of other marine wildlife are visible from the trail.
Volunteer with the California State Parks Foundation’s Park Champions program to help improve the quality, safety and preservation of our state parks and get some cool perks — such as free camping, free kayaking, and guided hikes — in the process.
- Projects include trail repair, invasive plant removal, habitat restoration, rehabilitating historic sites, fence construction, bridge construction, tree planting, and re-painting park structures. If volunteering outdoors, working with a fun group of people and making a difference in our state parks sounds like a good time, then become a Park Champion and sign up today.
Go camping in the Sierra Nevada. There are numerous PG&E campsites to choose from, and many of them provide picnic areas, swimming areas, boat ramps, and fishing. Reserve a site as soon as possible because they go fast. Two popular sites:
- Rocky Point Campground, at 4,500 feet elevation, offers breathtaking views of Lake Almanor in Plumas County.
- Upper Kings River Group Campground can accommodate groups of up to 50 near Lake Wishon about 6,400 feet elevation in the Sierra National Forest in Fresno County.
Take a road trip. More than 394,000 miles of roads link California’s most popular destinations including redwood forests, alpine lakes, and big-wave beaches. Just be sure to observe California’s hands-free driving law when hitting the road.
- Idea: Visit Burney Falls (approximately 60 miles NE of Redding, CA) in Shasta County. Dubbed “the Eighth Wonder of the World” by President Teddy Roosevelt, this National Natural Landmark is considered the best waterfall in California outside of Yosemite National Park, according to the website World of Waterfalls.
Take a dip in the ocean, lake, or local community pool. With thousands of lakes, a diverse and idyllic coastline, and local pools scattered throughout just about every community, California offers ample opportunity to cool off during the hot summer months. PG&E provides financial grants that aid in the operation of city and county run cooling centers. The Cooling Center Program consists of a network of community centers (some with swimming pools) and local government facilities where people can go to cool off when temperatures get dangerously high. When these facilities open as public cooling centers during extreme temperature situations, most organizations continue their scheduled activities but encourage people to come to their facility to cool down. Transportation, water and snacks are provided at some facilities but not all. PG&E has long supported cooling centers in locations where summer temperatures reach triple digits.
Email Currents at Currents@pge.com.