Bureau of Reclamation and California State Parks Encourage Visitors to Protect Exposed Historic Resources at Folsom Lake

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FOLSOM, Calif. – Visitors to Folsom Lake State Recreation Area are being asked to help protect historic resources by not handling, removing or destroying any artifacts or ruins along the lake bed. The remains of historic sites, such as the community of Red Banks near Mormon Island, a once-thriving mining community which had an abundance of immigrants seeking fortune along the American River, are now exposed due to low reservoir levels. These sites and artifacts are protected by both federal and state laws that prohibit disturbing the sites in any way, including removing or relocating artifacts.

The Bureau of Reclamation and its managing partner, the California Department of Parks and Recreation (State Parks) are reminding visitors that it is important to protect exposed historic resources by not digging, handling or removing anything from the lake bed and that metal detectors are not allowed at Folsom Reservoir.

The Code of Federal Regulations, Title 43, Part 423, Section 423.29 (http://cfr.regstoday.com/43cfr423.aspx) states that visitors must not destroy, injure, deface, remove, search for, disturb or alter natural resources or cultural resources and that visitors must not possess a metal detector on Reclamation lands. The historic sites around the lake and those that are normally covered by water in the reservoir are protected by the Archeological Resources Protection Act and other federal laws.

Further, state law, per California Code of Regulations Title 14, Section 4308, states that “no person shall remove, injure, disfigure, deface or destroy any object of archaeological or historical interest or value,” and State Parks bans the possession of metal detectors at the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area. The cultural resources on the lake bed represent a legacy of the people who lived and worked there in the past; if the resources are removed, they can never be replaced. State Parks staff has been educating the public about this incredible resource and the importance of protecting this site for future generation to learn from and enjoy.

Folsom Dam was completed in May 1956 and is managed by Reclamation’s Central California Area Office as part of the Central Valley Project. Releases are made from the dam to the American River for urban use, flood control, hydropower, fish and wildlife, and water quality purposes. Folsom Reservoir is one of California’s most popular recreation areas with more than 2.5 million visitors annually. Park Rangers regularly patrol the area.

For more information on the protection of cultural resources, please contact Laureen Perry at Reclamation’s Mid-Pacific Regional Office at 916-978-5028 (TTY 1-800-877-8339) or lperry@usbr.gov.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at www.usbr.gov.

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