Apr 18, 2012 11:26 PM by John Reger

Oso Flaco Lake: Where Does Its Water Come From? How Did It Get Its Name?

This week we have two questions about a lake in the Oceano Dunes State Vehicle Recreation Area.

Candy Miears from Atascadero wants to know: Where does the water for Oso Flaco Lake come from?
The lake has it's own small watershed: the 7,000 to 10,000 acres around the lake. Some of it's water comes from the Santa Maria River at high flow.

The other question is: How did the lake get it's name?

In Spanish the words "oso flaco" mean "thin bear." In 1769, members of the Portola expedition killed and ate a bear near the lake. The next day, a dozen soldiers got sick, probably because the bear had been poisoned by local Chumash Indians to slow it down enough to kill it. The name "thin bear" stuck even though a missionary later named the lake after some saints.

I know you have a lot more questions so send them to good question at ksby.com or, better yet, friend me on facebook.com/JohnRegerKsbyNews (and Santa Maria, don't be shy.) The only bad question is the one you don't ask.



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