Cache Creek: Wild and Scenic

Wild and Scenic North Fork?

When free-running portions of Cache Creek were designated a State Wild and Scenic River in 2005, none of the North Fork above Highway 20 was included. Lake County environmentalists are exploring the possibility of rectifying this omission, and giving the North Fork the permanent protection that its extraordinary qualities merit.

State Senator Patricia Wiggins has indicated an interest in sponsoring a bill to give the North Fork State Wild and Scenic protection, but no legislative action is expected in the short term, or indeed at any time in 2007. First, the citizens of Lake County and especially the residents of Spring Valley and the rest of the North Fork watershed will have to demonstrate that they want to prevent new dams and diversions in order to protect the creek for wildlife and for its scenic and recreational values. Nothing will happen without strong community support.

If you want to add your name to an online petition to Senator Wiggins, or to download and print a pdf version to circulate among your neighbors, that can be done on this site. A first draft of a possible North Fork Wild and Scenic bill is also posted here.

You can learn more about this issue at meetings that will be held in the community this spring (time and place TBA), by calling Victoria at 994 1931, or sending an email to



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Cache Creek: A Wild and Scenic River

When Yolo County Representative Lois Wolk's AB 1328 was signed into law on October 6, 2005 31 miles of Cache Creek were added to the state Wild and Scenic network. The Creek's ecological values were affirmed and the threat of new dams permanently eliminated, and the Creek was reserved for hikers, kayakers, rafters, anglers, and other recreational users, as well as for the wildlife--including tule elk, bald eagles, and river otters--that live in and around its waters. This event was a triumph for everyone who cares about the Creek, the environment of Lake County, and the future of California -- and especially for everyone who worked so hard to make it happen.

State Wild and Scenic status is more limited than the similarly worded federal designation: it affects no land beyond the creek's banks, establishes no new access rights, and imposes no new limitations on landowners' prerogatives.

But practical considerations are not the only ones that matter: by this special designation, the creek is confirmed as something more than the sum of its overtly "useful" parts. A stream has many functions: providing water for people and for wild and domestic animals, irrigating crops, offering recreational opportunities, draining off flood waters, perhaps also generating power or carrying freight. In juggling such utilitarian considerations, it is easy to forget its other function as the linchpin of an ecosystem, the vital flow that nourishes a living, breathing, evolving network of life.

The designation also declares to the world at large that the creek is in a special category. We have something remarkable to share with the wider world, and by putting it on the map, so to speak, we are announcing its unique value, and by so doing also increasing its economic value to Lake County.

Now it's time to give similar protection to the North Fork.