San Luis Reservoir Sra CampgroundSeason for Peak Fees: 05/15 to 09/15
Nestled in the grassy hills of the western San Joaquin Valley nearhistoric Pacheco Pass, San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area is notedfor boating, board sailing, camping, and picnicking. But itA?is anglerswho find this unit's three lakes most inviting.
San Luis Reservoir was constructed as a storage reservoir for the federalCentral Valley Project and the California State Water Project. It storesrunoff water from the Delta that would otherwise flow into the ocean. Thewater arrives through the California Aqueduct and the Delta-MendotaCanal, and is pumped from the O'Neil Forebay into the main reservoirduring the winter and spring. The Los Banos Creek Reservoir was built toprevent storm runoff from flooding the canals.
A visitor center at the Romero Overlook provides full information on thereservoirs and water projects through audio-visual and printed materials.Telescopes are also available for viewing the area.
Long before the dams and canals were built, this land was the home of theNorthern Valley Yokuts, native Americans who harvested seeds, acorns, andthe roots of the tules that grew in the marshes of the sluggish SanJoaquin River. There were also fish, geese, and ducks for food, as wellas huge herds of pronghorn antelope and tule elk on the plains. With thecoming of the Spanish, though, this way of life disappeared. Many of thevalley people were taken to missions around 1805, and an epidemic,possibly of malaria, decimated the human population of this area in 1833.In the 1850s, the survivors were killed or driven off by Americansettlers.
Pacheco pass was named for Don Juan Pacheco, who settled here in the1840s. The pass was used by Native Americans, Spanish soldiers andmissionaries, Mexican ranchers, and gold miners, as well as more recenttravelers. In 1856 Andrew Firebaugh improved the pass and made it a tollroad, with a toll house two miles west of the summit. He had hardlyfinished when the Butterfieid-Overland stages began using the road aspart of their route from San Francisco to Missouri.
The first water works in the area were constructed in 1871, when farmersbuilt a canal from Mendota Dam to Los Banos Creek to irrigate their wheatcrops. Many canals were added over the years, until they totaled 180miles in length. Ground was broken in 1962 for the San Luis Project,which created the current reservoirs. Today, Los Banos area farmerscultivate alfalfa, grapes, tomatoes, melons, corn, cotton, beans, sugarbeets, fruits, nuts, and raise dairy and beef cattle.
31426 GONZAGA ROAD
Gustine CA 95322-9737
On Highway 152, 7 miles West of I-5, or 33 miles East of Highway 101 from Gilroy.
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