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Rancho Water bringing back the ‘good old days’ at Vail Lake

By in Press Enterprise on August 12, 2017

By Aaron Claverie

Laughter as children swing on a rope and splash into a pond. The smell of bug spray, marshmallow-covered fingers and grilled hot dogs. An explosion of stars overhead as evening becomes night.

The Rancho California Water District is negotiating a long-term lease for management of the Vail Lake Resort with The California Parks Company, a Red Bluff-based company that has vowed to preserve the heritage and rustic charms of the property and add new amenities for vacationing families and snowbirds.

“I want old Temecula,” said Lisa Herman, a Rancho Water board member. “Vail Lake is about simplicity and good old days if you will.”

The board voted 5-2 on Thursday, Aug. 10, to open talks with California Parks after reviewing proposals from the Chula Vista-based operator of KOA campgrounds, which would have re-branded the property as a KOA, and Paydar Properties, which runs Sunland RV locations.

Two board members, Danny Martin and Ben Drake, preferred the pitch by Paydar, arguing the company would generate more revenue for the district’s ratepayers.

“Let’s try to get as much money as we can to offset the negative cash flow we have had up until this point,” Drake said.

The majority of the board, however, liked California Parks’ presentation and the relationships that company officials have already formed with groups in the area, such as mountain bike clubs that use trail networks in the hills for races.

The company touted its experience running a marina and sketched out plans for a full slate of water activities in two separate areas, paddleboarding and canoeing in a secluded area and a marina for boat launches in another. Those sort of activities should be allowed again in the future when the lake’s level rises back to normal levels.

The district drew down the lake during the recent dry spell — which […]    

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