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Tuolumne County tourism drying up with the water

6:04 PM, Jan 9, 2014   |    comments
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The dried up sand at the bottom of Pinecrest Lake makes an appearance as water levels run low on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014. (Photo by Tim Daly/News10)

STOCKTON - It's been a rough stretch for business people in Tuolumne County who depend on tourism and recreation.

Several months ago the skies were filled with smoke from the Rim Fire. Shortly after, federally operated campgrounds were empty because of the government shutdown. Now, skiers and cabin owners are staying away from the Pinecrest area because of the weather. 

"I think this is the worst we've ever had. It's never been this bad," one of three owners of Pinecrest Market Val Barber said. "We're cinching the belts and just hanging on."

The store lets regular customers run up tabs, assuming they'll eventually get paid. Barber said they're calling those customers to remind them they owe money to the business.

Nearby, Pinecrest Lake is so empty retirees walk the sandy bottom with metal detectors hoping to find valuable metals.

Up the hill, Dodge Ridge has yet to open for ski season. The resort's 67 runs sit empty, and its 350 employees wait for the call to go to work.

Two years ago, Dodge Ridge opened on Jan. 25. Dodge Ridge officials said they're hoping a predicted storm two weeks off will have them open late in January this year. 

By Tim Daly, tdaly@news10.net

News10/KXTV

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