By SUNNY LOCKWOOD
Bureau of Reclamation maintenance workers installed new signs at the Tuttletown and Glory Hole entry stations to New Melones Reservoir yesterday.
The signs and new semi-automatic gates are part of an attempt to limit vandalism at the reservoir.
Beginning Friday, the gates will close and lock at 10 p.m. and open again at 5 a.m., said Chief Park Ranger Paul Barney.
"We've lost tens of thousands of dollars worth of restrooms and handicap facilities," he said. "We've had graffiti all over buildings. People go in and hold gigantic parties in the middle of the night and we're not set up to handle that sort of thing. Neither is local law enforcement."
Barney said the bureau, which manages the reservoir, announced last fall that the gates would be installed.
He said campers can get out if they need to, but they won't be able to go back in until the gates open in the morning.
"I think this helps campers feel a little more secure, too," he said. "They know they won't have any crowds coming in and playing big boom box music in the middle of the night."
Barney said the hours of closure will be later during the summer. He also said people involved in special events at New Melones, such as trout tournaments, can arrange to have the gates open earlier than the posted time.
"Special use permit people can call and get the gates open early," he said. "In no way are we restricting legitimate users."
For more information, call 536-9094.