This post on Brannan Island State Recreation Area will be the first of four consecutive blogs on recreation areas in the San Joaquin Valley that are closing. As of this writing, it appears that Brannan Island will not escape closure, and the camping reservation organization "Reserve America" is not accepting reservations for after July 1.
Brannan Island is located in Rio Vista on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The delta is a maze of waterways offering boating, swimming, windsurfing and wildlife viewing on its numerous islands and marshes.
Aside from the boat ramps, not much of the delta river system can be seen from the campground. That being said, it is an immaculately groomed facility. Thick nautical rope is draped between posts, lining the roads, paths and picnic grounds. The parking lot at the boat ramp is huge, and I imagine on hot summer weekends it's packed.
But, the park has been winding down and preparing for closure for some time now.
Windy Cove and Delta Meadows parking areas and restrooms are closed. Until closure, camping will only be available Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.
Day use picnic and swimming areas have been drastically reduced. Group campsites are limited. Delta Meadows River Park Canoe Tours are no longer offered. The Rally Site is closed.
People can park at the boat ramp and walk into these areas, but all facilities have been closed. They must pack all items in and out and use the facilities at the boat ramp. And of course the Visitor Center is closed as well.
While Brannan Island is not a hiking park, it does provide a pleasant three mile foot path through the campgrounds, trees and shrubbery. Rabbits and I startled each other a few times on my walk.
It is of course, the outstand-ing water-oriented recreations that are the feature of this park. The way things stand, we have the month of June left to enjoy it. 'Tis our last to chance at Brannan Island to reel in striped bass, sturgeon, catfish, bluegill, perch and bullhead. One month left to view wildlife at Frank’s Tract, although I'm sure the beavers, muskrats, river otters, minks and 76 species of birds who dwell there are relieved that they will remain a protected wetland marsh.
As I drove away, the Ranger Hut had the words "Farewell Brannan Island," painted on it. I'm sure when it was painted, it was meant as a jolly goodbye, with an implied "Come Back Soon." I fear however, that the farewell now has a more permanent tone.
I hope to see you at some of these State Parks while we still have the opportunity.
This blog is dedicated to the memory of my Father, who loved reading maps, exploring alternate routes, and taking the road less traveled.
Alvin David Dick
April 28, 1926 - May 20, 2012