LOS ANGELES – As COVID19 state and local government shelter-in-place restrictions loosen, local high desert residents may be for sure heading to their favorite watering hole, known to local residents as the “Deep Creek Spillway” this Memorial Day weekend.
However, rangers with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District want the public to understand the area, which is located at the bottom of the Mojave River Dam basin near Hesperia and is on federal property, is not authorized for swimming and off-highway vehicle operation.
Nick Figueroa, a park ranger with the Los Angeles District, said that his office has received recent reports of vandalism and unauthorized OHV operation at the dam. Figueroa and park ranger Mary Carmona, were at the dam last Sunday, May 17. They advised several OHV operators of their unauthorized access into the basin and the majority of the operators stated they were unaware of being in the restricted basin and immediately departed the area.
“Today we are out here communicating with some of the folks that are out here recreating within the critical habitat area,” Figueroa said. “Over the years there have been a lot of folks who have come out here and either they have made their own way around the locked gate or have drove over large dirt embankments which have been placed around the basin to block illegal access to the area, with their OHVs or dirt bikes.”
Figueroa and Carmona issued parking tickets to vehicles that had illegally gained access to the area and parked adjacent to the dam’s emergency spillway. More than 25 OHV operators were contacted and advised to immediately leave the area.
The Los Angeles District park rangers recently enlisted the help of law enforcement officials from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, as well as law enforcement officers with both the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forestry Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, and are conducting law enforcement sweeps of the area to direct people away from the area and issue citations for off-roading trespassing.
The Mojave River Dam is located on the Mojave River in San Bernardino County, California, about 14 miles south of Victorville and just downstream (north) of the confluence of the West Fork Mojave River and Deep Creek. The Mojave River Dam's drainage area consists of 215 mountainous square miles. This area is drained by two main tributaries, Deep Creek and West Fork Mojave River, which converge at the base of the San Bernardino Mountains to form the Mojave River. Construction of the Mojave River Dam was completed in May of 1971.
Although most of the Corps’ flood control basins and dams are recognized as major federal, water-based recreation areas, the dam basin and outlet works are restricted and closed to vehicular traffic.
The public is reminded not to trespass and use off-road vehicles in the area.
For more information about the MRD, please visit: https://www.spl.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Dam-Safety-Program/