Salton Sea's star has fallen
Once a playground for celebrities, more recently for anglers and birders, the Salton Sea recreation area is likely to become a victim of California's budget crisis.
SALTON SEA STATE RECREATION AREA — During the heyday of the Salton Sea, when the Hollywood crowd and others came to play in large numbers, this strip of beaches, campsites and fishing spots along the sea's northern shore was one of California's most popular parks.
But that was years ago.
The popularity of the recreation area has plummeted in recent decades, and now the area is on a list of parks to be closed because of the state's financial woes. Unlike other parks slated for closure, this one may never come back, park officials said.
There was a time when droves of families camped here and a bumper crop of fishermen angled for tilapia and corvina. Boaters and water-ski enthusiasts sped along the tranquil waters. The sea's high salinity provided a reassuring buoyancy for neophyte swimmers.
The Chocolate Mountains to the east and the Santa Rosa and Coyote mountains to the west made it visually idyllic. And, of course, everybody could enjoy the warm sunshine in wintertime.
Frances Fiamengo, 68, remembers those halcyon days, when the Beach Boys performed at a now-defunct country club, the Marx brothers visited, and it was said Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack came to the sea to party.
"You'd be in the desert and suddenly see a Rolls-Royce," she said.
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