Bakersfield Recreation Sites

Keyesville Special Management Area

By far the most dramatic natural feature of the parcel is an approximately 3.5-mile stretch of the Lower Kern River Gorge. This important white- water river attracts about 12,000 commercial and non-commercial rafters from all over the USA each year. The river and its tributaries are also used by recreationists for gold panning. Gold mining was and still is an historic use of this site. Several unfenced mine shafts exist and present a significant hazard to recreationists.

Another attraction to the Keyesville area is fishing. Some anglers try their luck in the Kern River for trout and bass. But be careful, the rocks along the river were polished smooth by spring floods before the Lake Isabella dam was built and the river current can be swift and dangerous.

The Keyesville area receives a high amount of recreational use because of the access to the Lower Kern River and the availability of trails for off-highway vehicles (OHVs) and mountain bikes. The visiting public comes from nearby communities and as far away as Los Angeles. Specific recurring uses include a very active white water rafting program (administered through a cooperative agreement with the Forest Service) and the annual Keyesville Classic map), a National Off Road Bicycle Association sponsored stage race. BLM maintains three launch sites for support of river rafting trips, referred to as "BLM South, Slippery Rock, and Keyesville Bridge". BLM is working with the Forest Service and local user groups, to keep useable trails open and to correct problem areas which present safety concerns or are causing resource damage. Recreational mining is permitted in Sec. 25 SE¼, Sec. 36 N1½NE¼, SE¼ , T. 26 S., R. 32 E., MDB&M, areas withdrawn from the general mining laws.

The BLM Keyesville area is managed to protect riparian and cultural resources while providing for recreational use (with particular emphasis on white-water rafting, mountain bicycling, and recreational mining). Primitive camping is a popular activity in this area.