By Miriam Raftery
March 11, 2014 (La Mesa) – Helix Water District will hold a special meeting with the Lake Jennings Campground Committee and Board of Directors on Wednesday, March 12 at 5:30 p.m. at the District headquarters, 7811 University Avenue in La Mesa.
The meeting will include a PowerPoint presentation and discussion regarding activities, marketing, and suggested maintenance at the Lake Jennings campground. The Board has previously indicated closure of the campgrounds is likely if additional funding sources are not found.
November 28, 2013 (Lakeside) – While your east coast relatives are shivering in snowstorms, you can savor the warmth of our California sunshine by enjoying the great outdoors over the holiday season. Thankfully, Lake Jennings will be open throughout the Thanksgiving weekend, including Thanksgiving Day. Heads up, students! The lake will also be open during winter break, closing only on Christmas Day, December 25.
Lake Jennings is a popular site for camping, fishing, hiking and picnicking. The campground is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Camping reservations can be made online at www.lakejennings.org. Now, the lake is also available for rental for special events.
By Miriam Raftery
November 22, 2013 (La Mesa) – Several directors of the Helix Water Board indicated a willingness to vote to close Lake Jennings permanently or at least remove camping facilities and end fish stocking to save funds. But in the end, after public testimony and a proposal by director Joel Scalzitti, the board unanimously voted to form a committee to see if an alternative can be found.
Carlos Lugo, General Manager, led off the hearing earlier this month by stating that a September workshop on the issue did not have a high attendance. The lake has been a financial drain on the district and a consultant’s analysis predicted that even investing in major upgrades would not result in a profit.
Closure of popular recreation facility among options
By Miriam Raftery
November 3, 2013 (La Mesa) – At its meeting on Wednesday, November 6, Helix Water District will vote on whether to have staff prepared detailed reports on four options for the future of Lake Jennings. Those options include:
- close the lake to the public and decommission campgrounds and fishing facilities,
- limit public access to only hiking, picnicking and fishing- -but the lake would no longer be stocked with fish and campgrounds would be decommissioned,
- Maintain camping and fishing and invest $1,600,000 to $3,600,000 in renovations, or
- Create a master plan for renovation and expansion based on the 2007 Lake Jennings Campground Master Plan at a cost of $8 million to $15 million, with additional expenses for permitting, environmental impact and mitigation.
October 22, 2013 (Lake Jennings) – Ten-year-old Doug Utz stood with a smile beaming across his face and his arms spread the length of a nine-pound Rainbow trout. The young fisherman was presenting his catch for a photo to commit the moment to history.
That was many years ago, however, and such catches have since been impossible at Lake Jennings in San Diego’s East County. Rangers instead have been stocking higher numbers of smaller trout to help anglers bag their limits of five each.
According to Head Ranger David Acevedo, that philosophy and practice are coming to an end. For this trout season, beginning Nov. 1, Acevedo said up to 3,000 pounds of trout will be stocked just before opening day with weekly 1,000-pound plantings thereafter.
By Miriam Raftery
September 5, 2013 (La Mesa) – Four years ago, Helix Water District took back management of Lake Jennings from the County. But now the board is weighing options to reduce its operating costs or raise revenues generated by the 9,700 acre reservoir in Lakeside. Those options include closing the lake, offering a long-term lease to a neighboring district, or privatizing the lake’s facilities by turning over management to a company such as KOA, which operates campgrounds nationwide.
On September 13 at 10 a.m., the District will hold a public workshop at its administration building, 7811 University Avenue in La Mesa. You can also send comments to the board at firstname.lastname@example.org
August 1, 2013 (Lakeside) – Summertime, and the living is easy. Fish are jumpin’, as the song goes. Now you can try your hand at some summertime fishing after dark at Lake Jennings. The park is open for night fishing every Friday and Saturday night now through Labor Day at the end of August.
The largest fish caught at the lake is a whopping 68-pound catfish back in October2004. The record Largemouth Bass weighed in at 17 pounds, 2 ounches, caught at Siesta Point in 2005.
With temperatures soaring to triple digits this summer, night fishing offers a cool option for anglers of all ages. The lake also has picnicking, hiking, boating and camping.
July 11, 2013 (Lakeside) – What could be more idyllic than to while away a summer’s day at a beautiful lake? You can channel your inner Tom Sawyer as you explore Lake Jennings, where you can try your hand at fishing, campin,g hiking trails to savor nature watching, or glide across the water’s surface aboard a rented canoe, motorboat, or paddle boat.
As a special treat for family summer fun seekers, the recreational side of Lake Jennings (a reservoir) is open daily in July. Hours are Sundays through Thursdays 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and on Fridays and Saturdays, 5;30 a.m. until midnight for those who wish to savor the outdoor experience under the stars after sunset – or do some night fishing.
April 24, 2013 (La Mesa) – The Lake Jennings March Photo Contest garnered 83 spectacular entries from individuals throughout Southern California and Arizona, from age 8 and older. Photographers roamed the banks, paddled into the deep, hung out in Hermit Cove, watched the wild life, and clicked shutters. Winning entries were selected in both the Youth and Adult categories. Photos can be viewed on the Helix Water District or Lake Jennings’ Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.519785861417321.1073741828.301972993198610&type=1#!/media/set/?set=a.519785861417321.1073741828.301972993198610&type=1
March 2, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Photos taken at Lake Jennings during March may be entered in Helix Water District’s Lake Jennings Photo Contest. Prizes of up to $100 will be awarded in adult and student categories. Photos can be of any aspect of the lake—wildlife, wild flowers, camping, fishing, boating, scenic views. They can be up to 10 mg and must be e-mailed to: email@example.com. An entry and release form must accompany each photo and can be found at: www.lakejennings.org/photocontest/index.htm. Contest rules are also posted at this URL. Last year’s winners can be seen at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-Jennings/301972993198610
What could be more romantic than a vineyard trail ride, jeep journey, or sky sailing adventure for two? Perhaps an overnight stay at a bed and breakfast on an exotic wildlife sanctuary, a picnic and boat ride across a secluded lake, a carriage ride at a chocolate festival, or savoring gourmet goodies at a local winery!
December 4, 2010 (San Diego's East County) – This fall, as part of the Helix Water District’s watershed awareness campaign, a photo contest was held for residents that live within the Lake Jennings watershed. The District has now announced the winner—Sid Cavey who lives near the reservoir and submitted a spectacular photo of a rainbow over the Lake, which is located in Lakeside.