Yesterday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) South Pacific Division provided Congressman Kevin McCarthy with an updated timeline on the proposed new U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Visitor Center in Lake Isabella. This response follows a letter that Congressman McCarthy sent less than a month ago to the USACE requesting a timeline for this new facility which would replace a similar center that was demolished as part of the USACE Isabella Lake Dam Safety Modification Project.
McCarthy released the following statement:
“Like many places across the country, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on our local economy and tourism industry. As California continues to re-open, it’s crucial that our community is prepared to welcome tourists to Lake Isabella and the Kern River Valley. A new USFS visitor center in Lake Isabella will support tourism efforts and ensure that visitors to our community learn about and have access to local recreational opportunities in our region. As I have said in the past – the pace of this project has been frustratingly slow, but I am pleased the Army Corps and Forest Service have committed to a joint timeline. I look forward to continuing to work with Army Corps, Forest Service, and Kern County officials and local leaders to make this new, long-awaited visitor center a reality.”
Community leaders provided the following statements on the visitor center timeline given by the USACE and USFS:
“I want to thank Congressman McCarthy for the continued never-ending support of this vital project of reestablishing a visitor center within the township of Lake Isabella. It has been a long road for the past and present leadership of the Kern River Valley Chamber of Commerce during the continued discussions and delays which appear to finally be close to an end. I am pleased the Army Corp of Engineers and the United States Forest Service see the importance of this location to the tourism of this great valley. The Kern River Valley Chamber of Commerce is looking forward to working with the Forest Service to be a fixture within this new visitor center in the not so distant future after it opens.” – Fred Clark, President of the Kern River Valley Chamber of Commerce & Member of the Lake Isabella Dam Task Force
“It’s been a long road since the first USACE public meeting on the Dam Safety Modification Project. We are now moving ahead with the new visitor center, which will be important to serve residents and tourists alike. We can look forward to a large increase in tourism as COVID-19 and its variants come to an end. Better informed tourists should be more easily managed and get the most enjoyment from what we have to offer.” – Jon Ream, Vice President of the Lake Isabella and Bodfish Property Owners Association & Senior Member of the Lake Isabella Dam Task Force
“The Kern River Valley is a bastion of natural beauty and a great source of pride for Kern County residents. It provides scenic landscapes, points of historic interest, and unparalleled opportunities for recreation. The tourism it attracts is the driving factor behind the local economy, and is a benefit to all of Kern County. Thanks to the efforts of the United States Forest Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, and Congressman Kevin McCarthy, this new visitors center will help us to showcase this remarkable area, and share all that it has to offer with visitors from around the world.” – Supervisor Phillip Peters, County of Kern, First District
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