Names: Phil and Vicki Barnhorst
Jobs: General manager and marketing manager
Business: Nacimiento Lake Resort
What they said then:
In June 2009, The Tribune reported that Monterey County was extending its agreement with Forever Resorts to manage recreation services at Nacimiento Lake and Lake San Antonio.
“It’s a good partnership,” said parks director John Pinio.
Arizona-based Forever Resorts then managed 45 properties nationwide. At Nacimiento, it had already reopened the restaurant and added a houseboat at San Antonio.
The county had budgeted $1.5 million for capital improvements at the parks between 2008 and 2010.
Lake usage mid-2009 was down 15 percent from the previous year, Pinio said. Water levels also were down at both lakes.
What they say now:
With more water and a new marina, Nacimiento Lake Resort saw a “significant” jump in visitors this summer.
“This year we started out with a full lake and a brand-new marina,” said Phil Barnhorst, who completed his first year as general manager in August. “Spirits were high.”
His wife, Vicki Barnhorst, joined the resort as marketing manager in July.
For the fiscal year ending in June, Monterey County’s park visitation records showed a 170 percent increase compared to the low turnout the year before, she said. Through August, lodging was up 75 percent over the previous year.
Forever Resorts now oversees 65 locations in the United States, with more than 20 in Europe and Africa.
Higher water levels at Nacimiento were the combined product of increased rainfall and dam improvements, the Barnhorsts said.
The new steel-and-concrete marina offers more stable mooring at its 142 boat slips. Finishing touches were added to the store this past week.
“We were basically building the interior this summer,” the general manager said. “We had to stop everything around mid-July and deal with the season.”
The previous wooden structure — already slated for replacement — became a “safety issue” when an October 2009 storm damaged it.
“We used to joke about charging for thrill rides, it bounced around so much in the wakes,” he laughed. “That old marina was holding together out of habit.”
In addition, the county has resurfaced parking lots, built a new ranger station and added other infrastructure improvements, Phil Barnhorst added.
Already looking ahead to 2011, Vicki Barnhorst is planning a spring community cleanup on the shores around the resort.
“Unfortunately, there’s always trash in our waterways,” she said. “Personally I believe it’s important to reach out to youth groups and get them involved at an early age.”
— Raven J. Railey