Whiskeytown Camera History
As sailors, water skiers, kayakers and fishermen, folks would visit Whiskeytown Lake and often find that the weather conditions were quite different from that of Redding--only seven miles away.
It became evident that a web cam could offer the opportunity of really knowing the conditions before leaving home, enabling the visitor to enjoy activities consistent with the conditions on the lake that day.
Steve Thede, the Chief of Interpretation for the National Park Service (NPS) at Whiskeytown Lake was contacted regarding this idea. Both he and the Superintendent, Jim Milestone, were excited about it -- and went to work.
However, the NPS Headquarters advised Steve that there was already a web cam on Old Faithful and another location, and those web cams were taking up a large percentage of their total bandwidth. Thus, a moratorium on new web cams was in place.
The question was posed: “If the camera, its maintenance and the Internet connection were paid privately, would the NPS be interested?”
Again Steve enthusiastically asked NPS and was told that such deals were difficult because of the appearance of the NPS “endorsing” or linking to particular private businesses (at the exclusion of others). A way had to be found around that. That was three years ago.
More recently, an agreement was closer when it was proposed that this would not be a commercial venture, but only offer low-key recognition for those financing the web cam.
The next NPS hurdle was a two-year agreement, without the customary language allowing either party to withdraw with 30 or 60 days’ notice. This was necessary to amortize the expenses without early termination.
Again, the deal was delayed. Periodically, Steve was asked to see if there were any changes. Finally, this year (2005), he said “Let’s go ahead, as no one has said ‘no’ to the deal.”
So, four sponsors were gathered: Andy Main, Shasta.com, maintains the site and information, Garth
Paddlers, is paying for the monthly satellite feed and Deborah
Smiddy, president of the Record
Searchlight, with Dennis Mihalka DDS of LifeSmile
Dentistry, paid for the hardware, computer, camera and the installation.
After a year, Penguin Paddlers, the Record Searchlight and LifeSmile Dentistry will share the costs of maintenance and upgrades (as necessary) and the monthly connection fees. The National Park Service will provide the location and power for the equipment.
A big ‘Thanks’ to Com-Pair of Redding: They came through when it was found that DSL would not reach the lake and a land line would be too slow. Com-Pair installed a satellite dish on the Whiskeytown Lake Visitor’s Center, connecting it to a tower on top of Mt. Shasta Bally. With this we have great bandwidth and a clear signal.
From all of us… we hope this web cam will provide a valuable service for those who experience Whiskeytown Lake and for others the opportunity to enjoy its beauty from wherever in the world you may be.
Thanks again to all those who made this possible.