BUCKS LAKE, CALIFORNIA
DESCRIPTION OF AREA
LOCATION: Northern Sierra Nevada Mountains within the Plumas National Forest and the Feather River Country.
ELEVATION: 5,155 feet
VEGETATION: Primarily evergreen forest of White Fir, Red Fir, Cedar, Ponderosa Pine; and, to lesser degree, deciduous trees.
VEHICLE ACCESS: From State Highway 70 or 162, during the summer months. The access is limited to over-the-snow vehicles from about December 1 through mid April depending upon one's location around the lake. The Plumas County road from Quincy is plowed to within about three miles of the lake during the winter months.
WEATHER: The summers are very pleasant with highs in the mid 70ís and lows in the mid 40ís. Winter temperatures seldom drop below 10 degrees. Snow accumulation during the winter can exceed ten feet on the flat.
SHOPPING: Both vacation resorts have convenience markets, and Quincy is some 17 miles to the east for larger shopping trips. Both Reno and Chico are about two hours from the lake for major shopping items.
HOSPITALS: Plumas District Hospital is located 17 miles to the east, and both Enloe in Chico and Washoe in Reno have helicopter emergency flights serving the Bucks Lake area.
ACTIVITIES: Fishing, hiking, camping, great water skiing, and swimming (the water is comfortable to remain in for long periods of time during the summer).
Lake and stream fishing is famous for Mackinaw, German Brown and Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout, and Kokanee Salmon.
Golf is the primary activity in the Graeagle area with several excellent golf courses. Graeagle is about an hour from Bucks Lake.
During the winter months recreation concentrates on cross country skiing and snowmobiling. Many miles of roads and trails are mechanically groomed for the enjoyment and convenience of winter vacationers. The full service resorts are open year around.
BUCKS LAKE WILDERNESS: The northern portion of Bucks Lake is the boundary of the Bucks Lake Wilderness. A federally designated wilderness area with no roads, logging, or commercial activities. The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) runs through the center of this wilderness area. There are several excellent trails running through the wilderness area.
HISTORY: Horace Bucklin and Francis Walker first claimed the valley in 1850; and, while never making any improvements, gave the valley its name, Bucks Ranch.
The ranch went through several owners over the next few years until 1863 when William Wagner and Julia Haley purchased the ranch, and operated it until about 1890. The ranch was composed of approximately 1,200 acres of meadowland, a hotel, store, post office, large barns, and additional farm buildings. The ranch headquarters was located approximately where the current Bucks Marina is today.
The ranch was an important supply point for all of the mines located on the streams and rivers surrounding the valley. It was also a primary stage stop between the Sacramento Valley and Quincy on the Beckwourth Trail.
While the Bucks Ranch operation was the largest in the valley there were other smaller summer cattle operations located in the area.
In the mid 1920ís the Feather River Power Company purchased all of the land in the valley for the purpose of establishing a hydroelectric reservoir. Prior to the completion of the dam the ownership of the development was turned over to the Great Western Power Company which in turn was purchased by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company in the early 1930ís.
The power plant was first placed into operation in March 1928, and the lake initially filled during the spring of 1929.
The land acquired by P.G.& E. above the high water mark of the reservoir was divided into recreational lots and leased for private, summer home construction and use. These P.G.& E. lots are located along the southern portion of the lake.
The lakefront land not purchased by the P.G.& E. and remaining in public lands, administered by the U.S. Forest Service, was also divided into recreational lots and leased to private parties for the construction of summer homes. These U.S. Forest Service lots are located along the southern and western shoreline of the lake.
The northern shoreline of the lake was never divided into lots, and eventually was designated the Bucks Lake Wilderness to be undeveloped and enjoyed as wilderness for generations to come.
LAND OWNERSHIP: The majority of land located in the Bucks Lake basin is public land administered by the U.S. Forest Service. The Pacific Gas and Electric Company owns land adjacent to the lake and to the south that was excess land originally acquired for the purpose of the hydroelectric facility in the mid-1920ís.
The only privately owned land, other than that held by the P.G.& E., is located to the east of Bucks Lake Road and running to the east up Haskins Valley. This land has been subdivided over the last twenty some years into smaller parcels.