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SMUD to upgrade campgrounds in Crystal Basin Recreation Area

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District announced plans to upgrade facilities at the Sunset and Azalea Cove campgrounds near Union Valley Reservoir in the Crystal Basin Recreation Area. Improvements also are planned to day-use areas and trails at Gerle Creek Reservoir.
The Sacramento Municipal Utility District announced plans to upgrade facilities at the Sunset and Azalea Cove campgrounds near Union Valley Reservoir in the Crystal Basin Recreation Area. Improvements also are planned to day-use areas and trails at Gerle Creek Reservoir. Sacramento Municipal Utility District

Two popular Eldorado National Forest campgrounds in the Crystal Basin Recreation Area are slated for improvements as part of $150 million in projects tied to the Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s hydroelectric operations on the Upper American River.

Upgrades to existing facilities as well as some new improvements are planned this spring and summer at the Sunset and Azalea Cove campgrounds near Union Valley Reservoir as well as to the Gerle Creek Reservoir area, according to a SMUD news release.

Sunset campground improvements will include a new showering facility, a new group campsite, RV service station upgrades, a new entry kiosk, an upgraded drinking water system, and improved signage and information boards.

At Azalea Cove, upgrades will include a new drinking water system, the addition of bear-proof food receptacles and a new vehicle parking area.

New and improved trails to the shoreline of Union Valley Reservoir also are planned.

The Sunset and Azalea Cove work will require partial or complete closure of some areas. Azalea Cove will be closed in May and June. Sunset is closed for the year and is scheduled to reopen in spring 2020, according to the news release.

Limited closures will occur at the Gerle Creek day-use area, where work is to begin in July on improvements to day-use areas and trails.

Information about closures and limited access is available on SMUD’s website, www.smud.org.

The projects were agreed to in SMUD’s 50-year hydroelectric operating license issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 2014 for the Upper American River Project. Under the new license, the news release said, SMUD also provides $1 million annually to the U.S. Forest Service to operate and maintain the recreation facilities related to the Upper American River Project.

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