New fishing project slated for Picketts Junction |

New fishing project slated for Picketts Junction

Lauren Theodore

Grab a fishing pole and tie on a tackle, trout in the West Fork of the Carson River in Hope Valley should be taking the bait by summer’s end.

The state of California Wildlife Conservation Board approved a $250,000 Department of Fish and Game and Alpine County project last month for an all-access fishing facility and wildlife trail on the old U.S. Highway 89 junction with U.S. Highway 88, which is a half mile west of Picketts Junction. Groundbreaking is expected to begin as early as June and the commemoration is tentatively scheduled for September.

“Fishing is to Alpine County what gaming is to South Lake Tahoe,” said Bob Anderson, Alpine County Chamber of Commerce executive director. “We are sort of the resource next door.”

The summer-only, day-use facility will be built in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. A parking area with 11 spaces, five of which will be reserved for handicapped vehicles, will connect to a walkway leading to two fishing platforms. Handicapped rest room facilities will also be installed.

Alpine County has agreed to pay for day-to-day facility maintenance for 25 years and DFG will be responsible for major repair projects.

Anderson sees the project as an asset that can only help the county and agreed to go out on a limb. To offset maintenance costs, Anderson will seek the help of The Golden Sierra Job Training Agency, which, along with the county, jointly matches young people with available jobs.

He doesn’t expect maintenance to exceed $5,000 per season which he thinks is a small price to pay for the benefits of such a facility.

“Fishing is an important part of the summer economy for the county,” Anderson said.

“We’re inviting a population that has been under-served with recreational facilities,” added John Brissenden, owner of Sorensen’s Resort who, with his wife, Patty, has been actively involved in the project since Day 1. Patty is also on the Friends of Hope Valley board of directors.

“It’s a wheelchair path, not a highway to fish,” Brissenden said.

Brissenden and Anderson support the project because it takes the area aesthetic (trees will be left intact) into the utmost consideration as well as the rest rooms for the visitors it will be attracting.

“It’s a major source of therapy for our guests,” Brissenden said.

Anderson, a Christmas Valley resident, said he is a good example of a Tahoe resident who enjoys the Hope Valley setting because it is “non-urbanized.”

“I don’t think that you will be able to see (the facility) from the highway,” Anderson said to ease concerns of those who might think the site will take away from the natural beauty.

The Friends of Hope Valley will be overseeing the project every step of the way.

Eleven years ago the Friends of Hope Valley stopped power companies from littering power lines across the untouched alpine meadow and the idea for an all-access fishing facility and wildlife trail surfaced.

The success story allowed the group to find environmentally friendly ways to use the 2,850 acres Department of Fish and Game land for recreational purposes.

Before construction can begin, the state architect must review the plans and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers must examine the site because the land holds a navigable waterway. Brissenden and Anderson said they don’t anticipate any problems.

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