published: 24 March 2016
by: Jay Calderon
For the first time in years the Salton Sea Recreation Area has a public boat launch.
The public-private partnership that built the launch hope it brings more fishing, water skiing and recreational boating to California’s largest lake, which has been sinking and which scientists say is need of environmental rescue.
“Today you can launch a boat and three years ago you couldn’t,” said Kelly Claar, Salton Sea Sector Superintendent for the California Department of Parks and Recreation.
“We are thrilled about that. We haven’t seen a lot of activity yet but we are hoping after today word really gets out and we’ll see a lot more boats on the water.”
Receding Salon Sea shoreline made the previous boat launch unusable. In 2008 when the area hosted a speed-boat race, the vessels had to be carried into the lake with a crane.
The new launch was created by a partnership between the Salton Sea Action Committee, California State Parks, and DEVCO Sandblasting and Industrial Coating. DEVCO is the company that cleared mud and sediment at the marina at the recreation area in the North Shore in order to make way for the boat launch.
Thursday’s ribbon cutting ceremony brought Riverside and Imperial county supervisors, representatives of other elected officials, the state-appointed Assistant Secretary for Salton Sea Policy Bruce Wilcox, and a giant pair of scissors.
After the mid-afternoon ceremony a parks employee treated guests atop an air-boat, similar to the ones used to get around the Florida Everglades.
Organizers lauded the launch as a big first step in restoring the Salton Sea to its former glory. Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit said glamour shots from decades past could one day come back.
“Folks, I’m here to tell you, if it goes the way it’s looking like it’s going to go, the pictures that will be developed here and the occasions that are going to occur here in the future 50 years are going to outpace those from the great days back 50 years ago,” he said.
The state is currently evaluating several plans to address the shrinking of the Salton Sea. Proposals include creating a series of wetlands around the lake to preserve its coastline and wildlife habitat.
The center portion of the lake may be used for recreational activities that the boat launch is trying to promote.