Friday, 09 June 2023

Gray Lodge auto tour loop to close for July repairs

Ducks, geese and shorebirds fill the wetlands along the Auto Tour Loop at the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area in Butte County in the fall. Courtesy image.

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA — The auto tour loop along with some nearby hiking trails on the west side of the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area in Butte County will close for about two weeks in July to accommodate construction to improve water management, wildlife habitat and visitor experience.

Work is scheduled to begin Wednesday, July 14, 2021, near Parking Lot 14 and last about two weeks.

The auto tour loop and nearby hiking trails are scheduled to reopen July 26, 2021, in plenty of time for bird watching during peak fall and winter migrations.

Construction delays could impact the timing of reopening.

Hosting some 100,000 visitors each year, Gray Lodge is one the most heavily visited and widely used wildlife areas in the state.

During the July auto tour loop closure, construction crews will complete the installation of four water control structures to improve the movement of water across the wildlife area, allowing better management of the wetlands for the benefit of wildlife.

The entrance to Parking Lot 18 also will be widened to improve visitor safety.

The construction work is the continuation of habitat improvement and visitor amenities started in 2020. So far in 2021, crews have been regrading pond bottoms that were enhanced last year along the auto tour loop to improve their appeal to migrating waterfowl and shorebirds and make for an enhanced visitor experience.

The work is being funded through a $1.4 million grant from the state Wildlife Conservation Board in partnership with Ducks Unlimited.

The remainder of the wildlife area will remain open to public use during construction. Popular activities at Gray Lodge in the summer include hiking, fishing and birding.

For questions or additional information, please contact Gray Lodge directly at 530-846-7500.

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