Yuba Lake State Park
A view of Yuba Reservoir, at dusk (source: panoramio.com)
Yuba Reservoir, originally named Sevier Bridge Reservoir, was built to store water from the Sevier River for agriculture and industrial uses. When full, the reservoir measures 22 miles long with a maximum depth of 80 feet. Yuba Reservoir is the largest of many water impoundments on the Sevier River with a capacity of 250,000 acre-feet of water. To learn more about the erosional effects that the nearby Sevier River has, see this Earthcache: Meanders & Associated Landforms.
As is now obvious, recreation quickly became an important factor and today the area is very popular for boating, camping, fishing and other activities. Warm summer water temperatures, good fishing, sandy beaches and nearby ATV areas attract visitors year-round.
The Sevier River corridor has long been an important area for human activity. Ancient Native Americans left stone tools, broken pottery, rock art and other traces of their cultures in the area. Rock art can be viewed by boat just north of the Painted Rocks boat ramp. More recent ranching and mining activity is also evident. If you discover archaeological or historic artifacts, please leave them alone and notify State Park or BLM officials.
Left: the Painted Rocks campground is named for the ancient pictographs that can be seen there (source: millardcounty.com)
Fathers Dominguez and Escalante left Santa Fe, New Mexico, in July 1776 to find an overland route to Monterey, California. Their well-documented exploration took them through this area in September, 1776, where they taught Native Americans about Christianity. Modern historic markers depicting the route are located north of the reservoir.
Construction on the dam creating the reservoir itself started in 1902 and was completed in 1917. The name "Yuba" came from the individuals who built the dam. Local farmers and ranchers had to build the dam themselves or risk losing their water rights. The men working on the structure called it the U.B. Dam. As they worked they sang a song that stated "they were damned if they worked and damned if they didn’t." The phonetic sound of the reservoir's name was eventually spelled Yuba.
Right: Yuba's water was a necessity when built. Today, the water is highly prized as well for recreational uses (source: mystateparks.blogspot.com)
Yuba Reservoir was built between 1902 and 1917. In spring 1907, the amount of snowmelt was so high that water began pouring out of the reservoir faster than could be released by the spillway. Members of the Mormon Church at Deseret, 40 miles to the west, responded to the threatened structure by blasting a temporary spillway to relieve pressure on the dam, thus saving the reservoir. Yuba was designated a recreational area in 1969.
Things to Do
Two boat ramps, one at Yuba State Park and one at Painted Rocks, provide access for all types of watercraft. The reservoir is a year-round fishery for walleye, perch, catfish, rainbow trout and northern pike. Other activities include hiking, picnicking, rock hounding, bird watching, interpretive and junior ranger programs, mountain biking, waterfowl hunting in season, and off-highway vehicle riding nearby (not to mention geocaching, of course). There are also several popular zip lines in operation at the park.
Fishing and boating are some of the more popular activities in the park (source: troutings.blogspot.com)
Camping is popular here and the state park offers a variety of options. Oasis Campground is fully-developed, with modern restrooms and showers. More primitive camping areas, still offering restrooms, can be found at Painted Rocks and along the North and West beaches. Eagle View is a boat-in only campground. Beach camping is also allowed in many areas. For more information, call 435-758-2611, check out the Yuba Lake State Park Brochure, or visit the Yuba Lake State Park website.
Source: Adapted from juabtravel.com and other sources as noted, by josephaw.