Sinkhole limits Coyote Lake access

Park Ranger Doug Allen talks about the sinkhole on a four-mile

Families hoping to spend the next few weeks of sunny weather
picnicking near Coyote Lake may have a little trouble traversing
the 22-feet deep, yawning sinkhole that’s consumed a chunk of the
road leading into the park.
Families hoping to spend the next few weeks of sunny weather picnicking near Coyote Lake may have a little trouble traversing the 22-feet deep, yawning sinkhole that’s consumed a chunk of the road leading into the park.

About two months ago, the paved road caved in after the slow drip of a leaky pipe took its toll, Senior Park Ranger Christopher Crockett said. An earthquake fault runs right through the area, which likely dislodged the pipe years ago.

The Coyote Lake section of the Coyote Lake-Harvey Bear Ranch County Park near Gilroy will be closed to picnicking until further notice. The park will remain open to visitors looking to use the trail system from the Campground Trail trailhead and for fishermen seeking lakeshore access on foot from the overflow parking area of the RV campground entrance.

Road repairs are expected to keep the road closed for the next two to three weeks. The lake reopens for boating April 15 and rangers and Santa Clara County roads workers hope to have the sinkhole repaired by then, Crockett said. Rain could delay the progress, however.

“We’re working on it as diligently as we can,” he said.

What is a sinkhole?

A sinkhole is a natural depression in the ground caused by the removal of soil or bedrock by water. They vary in size and can reach depths of several hundred yards.

Why do sinkholes occur?

Commonly occurring in areas where the rock below the land surface is limestone, carbonate rock, salt beds or rocks that can naturally be dissolved by ground water circulating through them, sinkholes form when spaces and caverns develop underground.

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