ALPINE, Calif. — East County residents are still searching for answers after the Loveland Reservoir was drained and then closed to public access. They haven’t been told when or if they’ll be able to use the area for recreation again.

“Their contract was to provide public access again. It’s right in their mission statement, public participation, and they are not adhering to their part of the bargain,” Elisa Peskin said.

People living in the Alpine area continue to be concerned about the ongoing closure of the reservoir.

“This is the only opportunity to do hiking. I know that we can’t fish because the fish all died when the lake was drained, but at least we could take advantage of the other opportunities here,” said Karen Wood, who also pointed out it’s the only parking lot available along Japatul Road.

While recreation cut off since early this year, the dismay for residents really hit in November 2022 when the reservoir was drained to dead pool level, killing off the fish.

The Sweetwater Authority agreed to attend an Alpine planning meeting back in March and said the drastic action was taken during drought conditions to provide drinking water and other water needs to South Bay communities.

The answer from Sweetwater Authority on why Loveland Reservoir remains closed to the public for any recreation as of Tuesday, is because conditions are still not safe, according to spokesperson Leslie Payne.

Payne writes, “Loveland Reservoir is still closed. There is no slated date for the program to re-open as conditions are still not safe for the public.”

Representatives have repeatedly cited erosion in the area due to heavy winter storms.

“As far as this erosion goes, that’s 30 feet underwater or more,” Russell Walsh said.

The storms also seem to have brought the area back to life. Right now the Loveland reservoir is at about 76% capacity.

Payne also told FOX 5 in a statement: “The Board is in the budget process and will be approving the new fiscal year budget in June. There is money in the proposed budget to conduct a study to assess the condition of the safety and needed repairs at Loveland Reservoir. Authority staff is working with our insurance provider to assess the damage to the floating fishing dock and is working through the claim process to make those repairs.”

“Possibly looking at funds to do this or that it’s not a funding issue. It’s an unlock that gate issue,” Walsh said.

Residents also want the reservoir issue to be a formal item on a Sweetwater Authority board meeting agenda. FOX 5 was told there are no plans to do so, but upcoming budget discussions for the authority will begin on May 17. The meetings are public, with public comment on any topic allowed.