Lake Perris dam to be renovated; Big Rock to close temporarily

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State Park officials say Big Rock, a popular spot for outdoor enthusiasts, will temporarily close so that Lake Perris dam can be repaired.

Big Rock, located on the south side of Lake Perris, is a popular scramble for avid rock climbers. But rock climbing isn't the only activity out there.

While many people head out to Big Rock to fish, hike or run, those activities won't be going on for much longer.

Starting Wednesday, the south end of the lake will be closed for as long as three years because of a major rehabilitation project on the Perris dam.

State Park Superintendent John Rowe said there is no way to avoid the closure because the dam is in desperate need of repair, especially with thousands of homes located right below it.

"It could be unsafe if there's a big seismic earthquake at a 7.5 or greater," he said.

Perris resident Andrew Herrera said he has family members who live under the dam and that earthquakes have "always been a concern."

The state said all of the homes below the dam are not in any real danger because the dam's water level is 25-feet below maximum capacity to ease pressure on the dam. Yet, the whole point of the dam is to store water, and with the drought, state officials won't be able to store nearly as much water until these repairs are made.

"It's really a needed project so that we can store a lot of water in Southern California in reservoirs," Rowe said.

He wants to remind residents that Lake Perris itself will still be open with no construction activity on the north side.

But rock climbing will soon take a back seat to the project, which the state said is important because Southern California doesn't just need a lot of rain in the coming years, the area needs a reliable place to store it.

For updates on the construction, visit

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outdoor adventuresPerris
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