As you enter White Pines, a little hamlet adjacent to the town of Arnold off of Blagen Road, you may see a small sign proclaiming, “White Pines is not Arnold.” Although the two communities share a zip code, White Pines has a proud history all its own.
The town was founded in 1938, when Frank Blagen relocated his lumber mill and timber harvesting operations from Calpine, California (near Truckee) there. White Pines (thus named by Frank Blagen’s mother, Helen) became the new “company town,” with its own post office, school and workers’ housing. The mill closed in l962 and was dismantled in 1966. American Forest Products, Inc. (AFP), which had purchased a controlling interest in the Blagen Lumber Company in 1940, planned to create a large residential subdivision along San Antonio Creek between White Pines and Camp Connell. They dammed San Antonio Creek to create the 26-acre White Pines Lake to attract homebuyers, but never completed the subdivision. In 1977, the Calaveras County Water District (CCWD) purchased the lake and a band of surrounding land. CCWD now operates the lake as a domestic water source for its utility customers, and leases portions of the lakeshore to various community organizations. White Pines Lake and Park are a popular recreational resource for residents and visitors to the greater Arnold/White Pines area.
The White Pines Park Committee, who maintains the park, may be contacted at 209-768-5574 but better yet, please visit their website, WhitePinesPark.com, to see if your question is answered there or make a donation to help maintain the park.
Linger Longer:White Pines Park and Lake is a lovely spot for a leisurely picnic under towering ponderosa pines. Picnic tables, BBQ rings, children’s playground and volleyball court are available for public use. Bring your canoe or kayak (or rent one in town) and go for a paddle, or take a refreshing dip in the lake on a hot summer afternoon. From here, you can stroll around the lake to the Sierra Nevada Logging Museum, and on to the Arnold Rim Trail, a non-motorized multi-use trail between Avery and Arnold. The trail leads to a viewpoint for San Antonio Falls, a popular tourist spot in the 1860s through the early 1900s.
- Elevation: 3,880 ft.
- Mile Marker: 0/61
- GPS Coordinates: 38 15 58 12N -120 20 27 05W
- Service Available: Biking, Boating, Car Clubs, Fishing, HIking, Picnicking, Swimming