Bass Lake is a freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada, located 14 mi (23 km) from the southern entrance to Yosemite National Park. The lake is a hydro-electric reservoir operated by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company. In addition to electricity generation, its water is used for crop irrigation in the San Joaquin Valley. Most of the land around the lake is part of the Sierra National Forest. The U.S. Forest Service designated the lake an official Recreation Area and has developed campgrounds and picnic areas on the south shore of the lake. The north shore of the lake is primarily made up of private cabins and homes. It has a year-round population of 607. Much of the area surrounding Bass Lake is devoted to the tourism industry. The lake is considered a "warm water" lake with water temperatures reaching 80 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer months. Fishing, swimming, water skiing, and use of personal watercraft are popular. In the 1800s Bass Lake was not a lake at all, but a lush meadow surrounded by mountains and Ponderosa Pines. The Mono Tribe inhabited the area for centuries before a detachment of the Mariposa Battalion came across the valley in 1851 shortly after their discovery of Yosemite Valley. They decided to name the area Crane Valley after observing many Great Blue Herons, which they mistakenly identified as Sandhill Cranes.

In 1963, Bass Lake became a yearly destination for the Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation (HAMC), attracting hundreds of bikers from across the state. A first-hand report of the 1965 Bass Lake Run was reported by Hunter S. Thompson in his first book, Hells Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs. Most locals viewed the run as an annual menace that brought crime and frightened tourists away. Each year roadblocks, curfews, and campground restrictions were enforced by law enforcement from throughout Madera County and its surrounding areas in an effort to block, or at least control, the Hells Angels activity. The run peaked in the 1970s before slowly fading away altogether by the late 1980s.

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