USACE completes real estate acquisition for new USFS visitor center in Lake Isabella

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District
Published Jan. 10, 2023
Updated: Dec. 20, 2022

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District has completed the acquisition of the former Bank of America property in Lake Isabella, California, for relocation of the U.S. Forest Service visitor center.

USFS selected the location at 6212 Lake Isabella Boulevard – the corner of Lake Isabella Boulevard and Nugget Avenue – in Lake Isabella as the preferred site for their new location after a rigorous USACE environmental study and planning process.

The former visitor center was displaced by construction of a new emergency spillway as part of the Isabella Dam Safety Modification Project and a temporary visitor center has been co-located with the USFS Lake Isabella fire station in the interim.

USACE continues to work closely with the Forest Service on design of the new facility and construction is expected to begin in 2024, with completion by spring 2025.

“I’m excited about the news of the recent real estate acquisition milestone for the new visitor center and for what it means to entire Kern River Valley community,” said Sacramento District Commander Col. Chad Caldwell. “This project is a priority for the District and builds on the successful delivery of the Isabella Dam Safety program.”

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 addresses overtopping, seismic and seepage issues identified in the dam safety modification study and reduces the likelihood of dam failure. Construction of the dam safety modifications began in 2017 and reached substantial completion in October 2022.

To view the project documents or for more information on the Lake Isabella Dam Safety Modification Project and the USFS visitor center relocation, visit

Jeremy Croft
916-717-4096 (cell)

Release no. 23-001