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Thermalito Diversion Pool to Open Memorial Day Weekend

Oroville, Calif. -- For the first time since the Oroville Dam Spillway incident, the Diversion Pool will be open Memorial Day Weekend.

Posted: May 23, 2018 5:10 PM

Oroville, Calif. -- For the first time since the Oroville Dam Spillway incident, the Diversion Pool will be open Memorial Day Weekend.

This is the portion of the Feather River that runs past the spillways and into the Diversion Dam, and about a year ago had tons of debris from both the main and emergency spillways.

In a joint operation, the Department of Water Resources and California State Parks worked to open the Thermalito Diversion Pool and trails to the public.

Fishermen, hikers, and bikers will have access to more than 3 miles of the Brad Freeman trail, and kayakers will be able to launch in the Diversion Pool.

Along with the fun, people will also be able to see the spillway construction first hand.

“You're going to hear the sounds. Again, this is a live construction, they're not stopping,” said California State Parks Superintendent Aaron Wright.

He’s expecting a lot of people to show up this weekend because they already, constantly have people trying to get in illegally.

“When we found people in here illegally, they just want to see it with their own eyes, they want that comfort. So hopefully it provides people some comfort in realizing how much work is going on, how quickly it's being done, and how well it's being done,” he said.

He said before the spillway incident, the Freeman Trail was only about 4 or 5 feet wide, but it's since been modified for truck use and is now 16 to 20 feet wide.

You can also go swimming if you want to.

“However, realize this water is super cold. It's coming out of the bottom of Lake Oroville, so right now the lake is over 800 feet deep and you're taking out of the bottom of that.”

He hopes people will enjoy themselves this weekend, but also reminds everyone to stay within the limits, because the trail is more than 6 miles down and back.

The trail will be open Friday to Monday, 8am to sunset.

On Saturday there will be a guided hike at 9am, however, you do have to sign up by calling (530) 538-2219, or in person at the Lake Oroville Visitor Center.

Horses are not allowed on the Brad Freeman Trail, but the Lakeland Trail will be open this weekend for hikers and horseback riders.

The access off of Cherokee Road will be closed, and main access will be off of Thompson Flat Cemetery road.

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Today a heat wave continues but tomorrow night rain moves in, lasting into Saturday with much cooler temperatures. We warm up again on Tuesday.
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