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September 15, 2014



Here is a sign of progress on the dam--and thus progress on getting the road reopened:

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), operator of the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System, will be conducting an emergency draw down test at the Lower Crystal Springs Dam on San Mateo Creek on Thursday, January 15. This draw down test involves releasing water from the dam at increasing intervals. Residents will see creek waters gradually rise as if it were raining heavily.

This test is a requirement of the State of California Division of Safety of Dams. It will be conducted only if dry weather conditions continue. Should wet weather occur, the test will be rescheduled.

Inspectors will be stationed at key locations along the creek to monitor water levels during the test. If necessary, the SFPUC will lower flows or stop the release.

The Division of Safety of Dams requires dam operators to have the ability to lower the maximum storage depth of a reservoir by 10 percent within 7 days and drain its full contents within 90 days.

This test is a final step in the completion of several Water System Improvement Program projects in and around the Crystal Springs Reservoir System. These combined facilities collect and store local precipitation, along with Hetch Hetchy system water, for treatment and delivery to the northern Peninsula.


Does anyone have any memories of Sawyer Camp Trail?
Back in the 1970's we called it Camp Sawyer Trail.
It was open to vehicles-cars , trucks motorcycles, bicyles-before helmet laws. Anyone could drive the well maintained gravel road from Millbrae, to the Dam and beyond.
24/7 as I remember, unless there was some maintenance going on.
The people who went there regularly were students from Mills, Burlingame, Aragon, Oceana, SSF, Mercy and Serra High School.
WE had so much fun down there. Very rarely was there any problems where law enforcement was needed.
We even jumped into the Pulgas Water Temple, and floated out to the lake in these old wooden troughs/flues. Walked back and did it again until the SF Water Dept. covered it up.
I am not sure but I think we were even able to drive from Millbrae to HWY 92.
It seems like a life time ago.
I wonder what changed things?
I jumped off the Dam a time or two as well.
We cut school and parked at that parking lot listening to Van Halen, Aerosmith, ZZ Top on 8 Track tapes.
Drinking Sangria, and smoking weed that cost $10.00 an once.
People were nice then.
Even the unusual Watershed Keeper/Security SF Water Dept. Employee.
WE saw him save a life once of an old man who had a heart attack.
This was way before Beepers, and Cell Phones.
He only had a two way radio.
Anyway, anyone else have some Camp Sawyer Road Tales?
I saw a few really big fish reeled out of that lake a few times.
It is a beautiful Place, and I understand why it is mostly "off limits" to everyone except the people who work there.
Come on.


How long was your pony tail?


I had no idea there was so much going on up there in the 1970s--and yes, virtually impossible to monitor. It sounds like one would have needed a car, or a buddy with a car-- Actually, it sounds as if one would have needed a wild buddy with a car....but I had none of the above. The 'party crowd' in my day walked to Crocker Lake, an old reservoir in Hillsborough, as you likely know. We peons would hear bits and pieces about their outlandish escapades the day after. Sawyer would have been way, way too far without wheels...

pat giorni

The road won't be reopened for up to 2 years while Caltrans dithers on the repair now that the dam is finished. http://publicworks.smcgov.org/crystal-springs-dam-bridge-replacement-project

Now there is movement afoot to provide more access to the Watershed, and kudos to Dave Pine for championing


Thanks, Pat. I will probably post the full Times article on opening the watershed lands west of the reservoir. I've been meaning to make the appointment and take the guided tour for 10 years but haven't gotten around to it.

I have an excellent photography book titled The Unseen Peninsula by Robert Buelttman that documents how nice the woodlands are.

Gotta get back to it.

Yeah, I did a mountain bike trip on the lands west of Crystal Springs Reservoir.

I really want to have access to Lake Pillarcitos.

We should have our own "Tourist Club" on that lake. I've actually talked to the various gov't groups that have jurisdiction of this area, and they were like [we've been indoctorinated on Agenda 21, and we'd never let the public use these public lands. It's rangers and their buddies only. Ha.].

What a shame that the water fountain was removed by that big water tank and restrooms. I've trained for a couple marathons on the running path. A great 12 mile around trip. Gotta get back to it.


About 9 years ago, I tried unsuccessfully for over a year to arrange for a "tour". Then I finally gave up. The reason it didn't ever pan out?-- They could not manage to find enough people to "train" as guides to run the program. They actually tried to recruit me (of all people) for trail training.....that wasn't going to happen, with all the other stuff going on.

I was very disappointed that what was advertised as "open" to the public, was really, not.


Four and a half years after this post, the news is out that:

More than 20 years after plans for a replacement of the Crystal Springs dam bridge first took shape, the scenic stretch of Skyline Boulevard will reopen to pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists Friday and connect miles of trails along the Crystal Springs Reservoir.

The reopening of the scenic stretch of Skyline Boulevard dovetails with the opening of South Sawyer Camp Trail, which extends more than a mile south of the bridge and ends a quarter mile away from State Route 92.


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