The Feather River Center's enhancements to the Thermalito North and South Forebays

The Mission of the Feather River Center is to promote education, recreation, tourism, boating and water safety and competitive water sports in and beyond the Feather River Watershed.
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 The Feather River Center (FRC) manages and operates multiple educational and recreational programs in and beyond the Feather River Watershed. These include two rowing clubs, a sailing club, equipment rentals/special events, and K12 Field Trips/Nature Studies.

The highlight of the 2019 Summer season was expanding the school outdoor education program to over 3,000 students; a 50% increase over 2016. Working in collaborating with State Parks, DWR, DBW, the SBF, and City of Oroville, the FRC is leading the effort to build a new state of the art Aquatic Facility at the Forebay site. The developing plans and approaches to enhance the educational, recreational, and competitive opportunities at the North and South Forebays, which will lead directly increased economic activity for the City of Oroville and the greater Oroville region.

The concept includes construction of a

● greatly enhanced Boating Safety and Instruction Center, or BISC

● a new Oroville Community Sailing Center facility, and

● A new competitive Rowing and Sailing Regatta Courses.

These facilities will support local users and importantly will draw users from across the West Coast and potentially from around the world. In the future, the FRC will seek “seed money” from the SBF to support 1) development of conceptual designs; 2) scoping and cost estimating for the work necessary to plan, design, permit, bid and build the project; and 3) an economics study to quantify the likely benefits of the project so as to leverage the anticipated revenue of the new facility into future funding requests as matching funds or as means of loan repayment.

Background The Feather River Center is a collaborative organization comprised of members of the Table Mountain Rowing Club, Butte Sailing Club, and the Chico State Rowing Club. Our goal is to work with the California Department of Parks & Recreation: Boating & Waterways, California State Parks, the California Department of Water Resources and the local community to promote education, recreation, tourism, boating and water safety and competitive water sports in and beyond the Feather River Watershed.

Specifically at the North and South Forebays, we see a tremendous opportunity to develop a world-class sailing and rowing facility that is unique on the West Coast of the United States. Similar facilities have demonstrated their ability to hold national-level events that yield significant economic benefits to the local community, and there is no reason that similar benefits cannot be generated by enhanced Thermalito Forebays.

The Feather River Center – Forebays Aquatic Center Enhancement 1
Details on Key Attributes of Our Concept

1. The new Aquatic Center on the North Forebay, or BISC, would include full internet connectivity, classrooms, locker rooms, offices, commercial kitchen, conference rooms and equipment storage, etc., similar to the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center. It would be able to host classes; conferences, trainings, and retreats for business and other groups, and family events such as weddings and reunions.

2. Development of a Community Sailing Center, including buildings, secure boat storage, and new docks on the South Forebay.

3. The concept includes development of a 2K Sprint Rowing Regatta course on the North Forebay.

This 8-lane, 2,000-meter competitive rowing course would support large events, and would include appurtenant facilities for staging, spectators, and competitors.

a. A straight 2K course would involve excavating the peninsula and dredging portions of the Forebay to enable a straight course alignment; install platforms and course buoys, etc. Conceptual design development is necessary to better understand the project and support identification of funding. A course of this length would be unique on the West Coast. It could support training for the Olympics in 2028, and collegiate teams already seek out the unimproved course for training.

4. The Forebay is a unique destination, but lacks overnight accommodations to support certain enhanced experiences.. The FRC’s concept includes development of improved and expanded accommodations, potentially including cabins and tent cabins/sleeping areas, restrooms and showers. Hotel development nearby may be encouraged by development of the facility.

5. The FRC’s concept is to make Oroville a unique and desirable location for events. Collegiate athletes, spectators, conference attendees, etc. will come for their event, and return to replicate their experience and enjoy the river, lake, and Oroville downtown. The concept is consistent with the Feather River Concept Plan and anticipates leveraging unique economic models outlined in the Master Plan to fund construction.