Lake Dolores Waterpark
|Lake Dolores Waterpark|
A sign in the waterpark's parking lot, February 2008.
|Location||Newberry Springs, Southern California, United States|
|Previous names||Lake Dolores
Lake Dolores Waterpark (which also operated under the names Lake Dolores, Rock–A–Hoola Waterpark, and Discovery Waterpark) is a defunct waterpark in Newberry Springs in the Mojave Desert of Southern California.
Planning and construction
The park was originally designed and built by local businessman Bob Byers for use by his extended family. Lake Dolores was named after Byers' wife.
The initial phases of conception, planning and construction took place in the late 1950s and early 1960s. An expanse of arid land on the eastern edge of the Mojave Desert 100 yards (91 m) from Interstate 15 was chosen for the project. The area contains underground springs fed by the Mojave Aquifer. Lake Dolores (the body of water) is a 273-acre (110 ha) man-made lake fed by underground springs.
In May 1962 a basic campground adjacent to the small lake was opened to the public. Enthusiasts of Motocross (off–road motorcycle racing) and people traveling on Interstate 15 between Los Angeles and Las Vegas gave the campground some business.
Over the next 25 years, rides and attractions were added, and the site evolved into a waterpark, which was advertised on television with the slogan "The Fun Spot of The Desert!"
The park saw its peak attendance between the early 1970s and the mid-1980s. After a downturn in popularity in the late 1980s, the park closed.
Rides and attractions
The park featured eight identical 150-foot (46 m) sixty–degree–angle steel waterslides mounted side by side on a man–made hill. Riders rode on small plastic "floaties" which skimmed 40 to 50 yards (37 to 46 m) across the lagoon when they hit the water at the slide's end.
Nearby were two V–shaped waterslides, also roughly 150 feet (46 m) long, which were ridden standing up. The slides ended about 15 feet (4.6 m) above the water, shooting the standing rider out of the end like a human cannonball.
On the "Zip–Cord" ride, riders hung from a hand–held device attached to a guide wire for approximately 200 feet (61 m) at a 30–degree downward angle. At the end of this wire the hand–grip would slam into a blocking mechanism and come to a stop about 20 feet (6.1 m) above the water, with the momentum thrusting the hanging rider 20 feet (6.1 m) forward into the lagoon.
In the middle of a smaller adjacent lake were three high diving boards, and three trapeze-like swings hanging from an A–frame structure mounted on a 20-foot (6.1 m) high platform. Riders launched themselves from these swings into the lake.
The "Big Bopper" was a fast, long group raft ride. The "Lazy River" was a slower and more relaxed raft ride. There were also bumper boats, an oval JetSki water racetrack, and a swimming pool.
Byers sold the defunct park in August 1990 to Lake Dolores Group LLC, a three–member investment group led by Oxnard businessman Terry Christensen, who envisioned a more polished park with a 1950s theme.
In 1995, the original waterslides on the hill were removed to make room for new installations. Advertising and promotion was contracted to Beachport Entertainment Corporation, and the park reopened under a new name, "Rock–A–Hoola", on July 4, 1998. The new park featured the constant playing of 1950s and 1960s Rock and Roll music throughout the park. In its "Rock–A–Hoola" incarnation, the park included a river ride on inflated tubes.
An on–premise RV park had been planned but its opening was delayed. In its three seasons the park amassed three million dollars in debt, one of the three investors experienced financial problems, and an employee crippled in a 1999 accident was awarded $4,400,000 damages (eventually upheld by the California Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2004). The park filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2000.
The court–appointed trustee failed to find a buyer, and in August 2000 the bankruptcy filing was changed to Chapter 7 liquidation. The bankruptcy judge overseeing the case returned the property to Dolores Byers (husband Bob Byers died in 1996) with most debts discharged.
Dolores Byers sold the property in September 2001 to S.L. Investment Group LLC of the City of Industry, California. She died a month later.
After a $400,000 renovation the waterpark reopened in May 2002 under a new name, "Discovery Waterpark". In 2002 and 2003, the park was open on weekends. During the last season of operation in the summer of 2004, the park operated intermittently. The park has been closed since the summer of 2004.
Desolation and ruin
In 2003, Olympic Gold Medalist and former professional football player Ron Brown and the Pro Players Network, a group of former and current professional athletes, formulated a proposal to purchase the park and turn it into a camp for disadvantaged youths, but this effort failed.
The water slides and attractions are now gone. Repeatedly vandalized, much of the park is now in ruins.
In March 2008 the park appeared in an episode of the reality show Rob & Big on MTV. Professional skateboarder Rob Dyrdek and friends used the waterpark and its slides to perform skateboard stunts for the show.
In June 2012, another skate film "Kilian Martin: Altered Route" directed by Brett Novak and sponsored in part by Mercedes-Benz carefully showed the park in its current state while reflecting on its past appearance.
In 2013, TrustoCorp, a group of deviant artists from New York City, transformed the park into a "TrustoLand" as an artistic statement, by repainting many signs and buildings with unusual images and messages.
On May 27, 2013, Boards of Canada publicly debuted their album Tomorrow's Harvest by playing it first at Lake Dolores Waterpark. They had previously hinted that it would be played there by tweeting satellite images and uploading a video to YouTube featuring a distorted advertisement for the park titled Look Sad Reel, an obvious anagram of Lake Dolores.
- "Beachport Entertainment Corp. Announces Management Agreement with Lake Dolores". Business Wire. May 19, 1998. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
- Kenneth Ofgang (April 12, 2004). "Court of Appeal Rules: Worker Can Sue Employer for On-Site, Off-Clock Injury". Metropolitan News-Enterprise. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
- "James Mason v. Lake Dolores Group, LLC". MoreLaw Lexapedia. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
- Tony Oncidi (May 1, 2004). "Off-Duty Employee Injured On Employer’s Water Slide Was Entitled To $4.4 Million Judgment". California Employment Law Update. Proskauer Rose LLP. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
- "Lake Dolores". Oasis Themepark. Retrieved March 20, 2013.
- Shea Johnson (May 5, 2013). "Reviving Lake Delores". Desert Dispatch. Retrieved September 3, 2014. cited at "Reopening Lake Dolores Water Park Is Only A Wet Dream". Newberry Springs Blotter. Newberry Spring Community Alliance. August 23, 2013. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
- "Reopening Lake Dolores Water Park Is Only A Wet Dream". Newberry Springs Blotter. Newberry Spring Community Alliance. August 23, 2013. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
- The Bombing of a Theme Park on YouTube
- May 27th 17:00 PDT - Boards of Canada on Twitter. 26 May 2013. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
- Minsker, Evan. "Listen: Boards of Canada Host Tomorrow's Harvest Listening Party in California Desert". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
- Young, Alex. "Watch Boards of Canada debut new song at Detroit’s Movement Festival". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
- Photos of trapeze strings and stand-up slides in action, at Flickr
- 2009 photos of defunct installations, at Flickr
- Satellite Photo of Rock-A-Hoola / Lake Dolores Waterpark on Google Maps
- A pre-dismantlement feature story on the state of the park from "UNLViews"
- Panoramic video from the top of Lake Dolores/Rock-a-Hoola Waterpark
- Video tour of the ruined park
- "Kilian Martin: Altered Route" - Directed by Brett Novak; A skateboarding film recorded in the abandoned park in 2012