The Top Active NorCal Stories of 2023

Another great year has passed and it was a busy one for all of us at Active NorCal. The most significant news was the relaunch of our print magazine, which is set to hit mailboxes in the next couple of weeks. After years of hearing people ask us to bring it back, we finally caved, and the stoke is high to bring a great print product to our audience.

From a news perspective, much of headlines that dominated the outdoors of Northern California were water related. Following a historic winter, snow walls lined mountain roads, waterfalls began overflowing, and lakes began to fill up as high as we’ve seen in years. Now, if only we could get some more precipitation in 2024.

Thanks, as always, for your support of Active NorCal. We hope to continue to be your guide to adventure in Northern California, both online and in print. Here were our top stories in 2023:

10. Yosemite’s Mist Trail is Currently Overflowing with Water. Here’s What it Looks Like. (May 31)

The Mist Trail in Yosemite National Park is known to push water onto the steps ascending up to the top of the trails famed waterfalls. But with the “Big Melt” currently underway of the Sierra’s historic snowpack, the trail is much more wet than usual. In fact, it’s overflowing in the most beautiful way.

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9. This Popular Northern California Lake Was Once a National Park (March 20)

Northern California is home to some of the most popular National Parks in America, with Yosemite National Park ranking high in annual visitation reports and the Redwood National Park among the top in bucket lists around the world. Over the years, the National Park Service (NPS) has added many destinations to their management roster, but they have only removed 26 areas. One of those areas is a popular lake right here in Northern California.

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8. New Wolf Pack Found in Sequoia National Forest Shocks Wildlife Officials

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has just revealed the shocking discovery of a new gray wolf pack in Tulare County. The wolf pack, currently without a name, provides a new wrinkle in California’s growing gray wolf population.

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Bonus: The wolf pack now has a name with native roots. Read about it here.

7. Lake Shasta Approaches Full Pool for the First Time in Nearly Two Years (April 28)

Shasta Lake is currently approaching full pool levels, a milestone that hasn’t been achieved in nearly two years. This news comes as a relief to residents and officials alike, as the lake is a vital source of water and recreation for the region.

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6. Unlocking California’s $4.4 Billion Water Solution: When Will Sites Reservoir Finally Be Completed? (April 3)

For decades, California has been relying on an extensive reservoir system to provide the majority of its drinking and irrigation water. The Sites Reservoir, a long-planned project in the western Sacramento Valley, has been gaining momentum since 2014 when Prop. 1, a water bond, authorized $2.7 billion for new storage projects.

However, the reservoir is still nearly a decade away, with water rights acquisition, permitting, and environmental review ongoing. Construction, which includes two large dams, is set to begin in 2024, though it may be delayed by a year. The project is expected to be completed by 2030 or 2031.

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5. Northern California Could See its Best Aurora Borealis Show in 20 Years in 2024 (December 12)

Northern California skywatchers are in for a celestial treat as experts predict an increase in auroras, commonly known as the Northern Lights, in regions where they are not frequently seen. This anticipated aurora spectacle is expected to occur in 2024 as the sun reaches the peak of its approximately 11-year solar cycle, known as the “solar maximum.”

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4. What the Heck Is It? Weird Creature Found on Point Reyes Beach. (September 18)

Photos of a mysterious creature are circulating online after it was photographed on a Point Reyes beach earlier this week. So, what the heck is it?

The photo was posted to The West Marin Feed on Twitter and included the question “Found on a beach in Point Reyes this week, anyone know what it is?” Here are photos of the weird creature in question:

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3. Giant Underwater Volcano Discovered Off the Northern California Coast (March 28)

A uniquely shaped underwater volcano, towering at 3,300 feet, has been discovered 184 miles off the Northern California coast near Cape Mendocino. The seamount exhibits a smooth-sided circular tower appearance with nearly vertical sides, differing from the typical sloped sides of seamounts.

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2. Farmer’s Almanac Released its 2023-24 Winter Outlook and it Brings Good News for Northern California (August 8)

The much-anticipated winter forecast for 2023/2024 has just been released by the Farmers’ Almanac, a tradition since 1818 that aids in planning ahead for the different communities in the United States. So how does it look for Northern California?

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1. Is California About to Get Hit With an El Nino Storm of Epic Proportions? This Forecast Thinks So. (December 9)

(This forecast did not age well.)

It’s been a slow start to the winter in Northern California. Small amounts of precipitation have led to simmering expectations after the historic winter of 2022-23. Now, forecast models are showing an intense storm building over the Pacific Ocean, set to land in California just in time for Christmas.

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Hope everyone has a fantastic 2024!

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California

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