Lake Almanor Sports Complex: Separating fact from fiction
As Sept. 28 approaches there is a lot of talk within the community about the proposed Lake Almanor Sports Complex, and it appears that not all of it is based in fact.
The fact, according to project visionaries Jeff Greening and Plumas County District 3 Supervisor Sherrie Thrall, is the complex will be more than just a shooting range.
“While the complex will provide a layout for the sport shooting of skeet and clays, it is so much more. It is being designed to provide a broad spectrum of year-round sporting and recreational opportunities for residents and visitors,” Greening said.
As an example he talked about the sport of disc golf.
“This is a sport that can be played continually, snow or no snow. The golf baskets have telescopic towers that allow them to raise and lower to an accommodating height for the season.
“There is no reason why dedicated golfers can’t don snowshoes and have a great day with their sport,” he said.
He also shared that in a recent conversation with a disc golf enthusiast the person not only got excited about the idea of winter play but also began to imagine the challenge of “scoring at night under the light of a full moon.”
While another LASC proposed summer activity is archery, Greening said that in using one’s imagination the potential for fun activities is limitless.
Changing seasons, envisioned winter activities include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, skijor and biathlon sports.
Another topic floating in the community is about the personal cost of using the sports complex.
“Somehow, somewhere, a conclusion has been drawn that the use of the sports complex would require users to pay an annual membership fee of upwards of $300,” Greening said. “LASC is a community recreational project and not a club that requires members to pay fees or dues.
“Right now LASC is registered as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit with the primary purpose of shepherding new recreational opportunities for local youth and adults while providing a venue that can draw many out-of-area guests to participate in organized, regional events in the Lake Almanor Basin.”
As to the club aspect of the complex he said, “The examples of proposed recreational and sporting activities are exciting enough that it’s easy to imagine members of the community forming their own clubs or informal gatherings to come together to play.”
Fun is an economic engine
Greening and Thrall are not only looking at what new recreational opportunities can bring to the community but are taking the potential to the next level, bringing regional events to the Lake Almanor Basin.
“The Lake Almanor Sports Complex can make this area the perfect playground for four seasons of fun,” Greening said.
Should one question why they believe the proposed project would draw guests from outside the Basin they are ready to provide concrete responses.
The pair has traveled extensively to recreational facilities in the Chico and Sacramento areas and to Nevada to study layouts and talk with the individuals who have been instrumental in their formation.
“While in the Valley one individual I spoke to was sincerely excited about having such a facility in Lake Almanor that he told me that if this happens he will be house-hunting in Lake Almanor,” Thrall said.
“Our event exhibitors themselves are a great example of what an economic boost the complex to can provide to Lake Almanor.”
“We not only have exhibitors traveling in from the Reno area but their family, friends and fellow club members. There is a large contingency that will be staying in RVs at Lake Cove Resort and others at the Antlers Motel,” Greening added.
He also said he had called Chris Cartwright at Big Cove and asked if he was usually this full with guests at this time of the year and said the reply he got was “no.”
“When we speak of the economic benefit of the complex this is a good example of how recreational opportunities for tourism can fill in the shoulder season. Sherrie and I have learned through our contacts that the possibilities for regional activities could be a major boost for our shoulder season and to fill dead spots within the summer season. Folks we have talked to have learned a lot about Lake Almanor and are excited to visit,” Greening added.
Regional support is there
“From the moment the LASC website went online and the fliers were mailed out, the regional response has been overwhelming.
“This is evidenced by how far our ‘Come Play in the Pines’ exhibitors are willing to travel in support of the project.
“There are not only looking forward to traveling in to demonstrate their sport and visit with the community but they are also hoping that they will be able to return to Lake Almanor over and over again to participate in regional competitions,” Greening said.
Why community support is important
“As a community project, a showing of support at this event is paramount. Without sufficient interest by the community, the project will be sidelined, perhaps for another day.
“The sports complex offers something for everyone living in or visiting the area, youth and adults, if for nothing more than a picnic.
“Support of the complex is key to supporting our Lake Almanor communities. By doing so we increase our ability to attract and host regional events that will offer tremendous opportunity to our local economy.” Greening said.
In talking about the different ways in which members of the community can support the proposed complex, Thrall said, “Right now our most critical need is volunteers to help with the exhibition in the areas of crowd control, parking and levy patrol on ATVs. It is important that we maintain a safe perimeter around the shooting exhibition and make sure the guests have a great experience.”
Thrall said individuals who would like to offer their time are welcome to volunteer for the morning or afternoon exhibition or both.
“If you would like to help, your call would be most welcome,” she added.
Thrall can be reached at 258-3656.
The LASC website also contains information about the many types of potential sports venues possible at the complex. That information is at lakealmanorsportscomplex.com.
Keeping it green
“Throughout our project discussions with others, both Sherrie and I have worked to ensure that everyone has a clear understanding that when we speak of a complex we are not talking about the construction of a series of buildings.
“Where we live we are surrounded by the beauty of the mountains and the pines and this is what people want to experience when they come to Lake Almanor. We want to enhance that experience.
“With this always foremost, Sherrie and I are focused on leaving the smallest footprint possible on the environment,” Greening said.