SACRAMENTO, California – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District has announced the opening of the French Gulch Boat Launch at Isabella Lake in Kern County, California. The launch opens today at 4 p.m.
The French Gulch boat ramp was constructed as a temporary replacement for Boat Launch 19, which was closed in May to make room for the Isabella Dam Safety Modification Project taking place over the next five years.
The Corps’ concerns over the safety of the new French Gulch launch caused a delay in its opening, but the contractor on the project moved quickly to remediate the issue and get the ramp ready to open in time for the Independence Day holiday. New restrooms at the facility, however, will not be available this weekend.
The Corps also coordinated to temporarily reopen Boat Launch 19 for the holiday, providing two launch facilities at Isabella’s main dam. Boat Launch 19 will close again on Thursday, July 5, for the duration of the dam safety modification project.
Completed in 1953, Isabella Lake Dam is located approximately 40 miles northeast of Bakersfield. The reservoir is impounded by two earthen dams on the Kern River and Hot Springs Valley. Today, Isabella Lake and its dams reduce flood risk for Bakersfield and the surrounding region, and is a primary water source for water users throughout Kern County. The Isabella Lake Dam Safety Modification Project will address overtopping, seismic and seepage issues identified with Isabella Lake’s Main and Auxiliary dams to reduce the likelihood of dam failure. Construction of the dam modifications began in late 2017 and is expected to be complete in 2022.
Release no. 18-014