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For Immediate Release: 3/25/2016

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Boat Launch Facility Reopens at Salton Sea State Recreation Area



Kelly Claar



MECCA, Calif. — Today at the Salton Sea State Recreation Area (Salton Sea), California State Parks and its partners reopened Varner Harbor and Launch Ramp. This new boat launch ramp, located on the eastern shore of the Salton Sea, is one of two public access points for recreational boaters.

Visitation at Salton Sea is swiftly increasing as more Californians realize its recreational potential. More than 200,000 visitors are expected annually at California’s largest lake and the third largest saline lake in the nation.

“We’re excited to once again be able to provide visitors to the Salton Sea with a public access point for boating recreation,” stated California State Parks’ Salton Sea Sector Superintendent Kelly Claar. “State Parks is committed to looking at future partnership opportunities that not only meet our mission, but have a positive impact on the Salton Sea.”

The re-opening of the Salton Sea’s boat launch ramp is the result of a public-private partnership between California State Parks, Salton Sea Action Committee (SSAC) and the construction firm DEVCO. The dredging and repair work was performed by DEVCO, along with assistance from State Parks’ heavy equipment operators.

"The dredging of the channel and repair of the launch ramp at the state park is a historic event,” said Salton Sea Authority Chairman John J. Benoit. “It has been many years since the public has been able to launch boats from here. I am pleased that this ramp will increase recreational activities at the Salton Sea."

SSAC is a non-profit California corporation organized to support Salton Sea Restoration efforts. The committee’s sister organization, Revive The Salton Sea, is a non-profit California corporation organized to support California's efforts to improve and maintain the Salton Sea for the enjoyment and well-being of Coachella Valley and Imperial Valley residents and visitors from around the state and beyond.

One of the world's largest inland seas and lowest spots on earth at -227 below sea level, the Salton Sea was re-created in 1905 when high spring flooding on the Colorado River crashed the canal gates leading into the developing Imperial Valley.  For the next 18 months the entire volume of the Colorado River rushed downward into the Salton Trough. By the time engineers were finally able to stop the breaching water in 1907, the Salton Sea had been born at 45 miles long and 20 miles wide – equaling about 130 miles of shoreline.

The Salton Sea State Recreation Area covers 14 miles of the northeastern shore and is a popular site for campers, boaters, kayakers, birdwatchers, photographers, hikers and anglers. The state park is about a three-hour drive from the Los Angeles or San Diego areas.

For more information about recreational boating on the Salton Sea, please call (760) 393-3059 or visit the park online at For tips on how recreational boaters can keep themselves and their families safe on California’s waterways, please visit



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California State Parks provides for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high quality outdoor recreation.