Low-water Recreation Updates for Shasta Lake

Release Date: Aug 22, 2014

Contact(s): Andrea Capps (530) 242-5546, (530) 605-7337

REDDING, Calif. - Shasta Lake is experiencing a near-historic low-water year following extreme drought conditions for the State of California. Declining lake levels present challenges to boaters, fishermen, and other recreational users looking to enjoy the Shasta Lake’s recreational opportunities. Current information about recreational opportunities is included below.

Low-water at Shasta Lake creates challenging accessibility issues. For example, the Sugarloaf Boat Ramp, located in Lakehead, CA, became inoperable on August 21, 2014.  The loss of the Sugarloaf Boat Ramp left Jones Valley Boat Ramp and Centimudi Boat Ramp as the only remaining public launches facilities. The Jones Valley Boat Ramp is currently co-located with the Jones Valley Marina. Any public members seeking to launch their boats at Jones Valley Boat Ramp will need to pay their launch fee as they enter the fee area, and will need to utilize Jones Valley Marina’s dock as the courtesy dock. The currently accessible ramp at Jones Valley (Ramp 3) is narrow, and the access route is long, but should accommodate most recreation boats. For more information or updates on changing conditions, please contact the Shasta Lake Ranger Station at 530-275-1587.

As the lake level receded further, visitors are reminded that this man-made lake was built over older villages, towns, and structures. These resources are public treasures which need to be preserved for future generations. The Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 (ARPA) prohibits excavation, removal, damage, destruction, defacing, or otherwise altering archaeological resources on public land.

Metal-detecting is permitted on National Forest Land only if it is in an area not reasonably expected to contain archaeological or historical resources. However, even in metal-detecting permissible areas, people are not permitted to cause resource damage by digging to find any buried treasure revealed by the metal-detector. Collection of anything is limited to if something is located on the surface of the ground and is obviously modern. Furthermore, metal-detecting for the purpose of finding gold or other minerals, instead of for recreation, is not permitted at all. Likewise, gold-panning is not permitted on the National Recreation Area, which includes all of Shasta Lake.

So, what should you do if your explorations around the lake reveal historic artifacts or structures? Take a picture, appreciate these items, and leave them where you found them: enjoy, but do not destroy. Then please call the Shasta Lake Ranger Station at 530-275-1587 to alert our archaeologist so the find can be documented and recorded as part of the history of our area. Remember, every time one person removes an historic object; that leaves one less treasure for someone else to experience. Your public lands and the historical resources they contain are the property of everyone, not any individual.

To make your visit more enjoyable, be aware of the uneven, steep terrain of the shoreline. Wear proper shoes and plan for enough time to carefully navigate the rocks and debris that make up the shore. Also remember to bring plenty of water. No matter what time of year, the direct sunlight that is undisturbed around the lake can be very draining. While the Shasta-Trinity National Forest is in fire restrictions, there are opportunities for campfires along the shoreline with the proper permit and required safety precautions.

For more details, or if you would like help planning your visit, please contact the Shasta Lake Ranger Station at 530-275-1587, located at Exit #687 off Interstate 5, open Monday-Friday 8-4:30.

The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation's clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.