A recent letter writer is opposed to the Kern River Valley getting a visitor center and cites several areas that she believes would be better candidates for the money the visitor center will cost (“Letter to the Editor: Items Lake Isabella needs,” Sept. 4). I personally find it troubling that a local resident would voice her opposition at this late date.
Since well before 2015, many residents of the Kern River Valley have worked closely with the Corps of Engineers and Congressman Kevin McCarthy to ensure that an acceptable visitor center is built as an adjunct of the Lake Isabella Dam Safety Modification Project. This visitor center will replace the one that had to be demolished due to the modification project. The preferred location for the new visitor center is on the Bob Powers Gateway Preserve near the intersection of highways 178 and 155 in Lake Isabella.
The economy of the Kern River Valley is driven by tourism. Fishing, camping, hiking and other outdoor activities are the cornerstone of our lovely valley. A visitor center is the place where tourists get information on each of these activities in addition to talking to employees of the Forest Service and other agencies.
Currently, a temporary visitor center is located inside the Forest Service Fire Station in Lake Isabella and consists of a mere counter. There are no signs to even let tourists know that there is information available inside the station. It was my understanding that a permanent visitor center would be constructed after the modification project is complete and would be site specific due to its location near wetlands. The former visitor center simply must be replaced with a new one that will make local residents, county, state and federal governments proud.
Karene R. Williams, Lake Isabella