Western Gateway Park News

Park Amenities

News at Western Gateway Recreation and Park District

Let there be Light .. on the Ball Fields - Mar 2012

New lights allow a night game at the park.

You may have noticed some trench work and cranes in the park this winter (2011-2012). We were upgrading our electrical power that serves the north side of the creek. The project was approved in the Master Plan and serves to bring our power up to code. We have installed power lines on both sides of the creek and have now installed stadium lighting at the Little League field. Funding for this project was provided through a cooperative agreement between the District and Penn Valley Area Little League. The Little League will now be able to host tournaments and play under the lights!

PGE workers high in buckets working on power lines.


Six new Bocce Ball Courts at the park!

In September 2011, six new Bocce Ball courts were completed at the park and ready for both competitive play and family fun.  Many thanks to the Nevada County Italian Festival Committee for a huge contribution to the park. 

32 teams competed in a bocce ball tournament on the courts during the 2011 Nevada County Italian Festival in September. So bring your bocce ball set and have some fun. 

New bocce courts at the park.

See the Bocce Ball page for more details.

New Toilets at the Park 4/2011

Those blue porta-potties are a thing of the past.  The park has new Vault Toilets at the Ball Fields, Dog Park and Basketball Courts. 

Vault Toilet on Truck

If you have great digital photos of your fun times in the Park that you'd like to share, please send them to webmaster at WesternGatewayPark.com. (Use @ symbol in email address. )
'New' News at Western Gateway Park
(© April 2011 Penn Valley Courier)

News April 2011

Director Reinhardt welcomes Barn Owl to nest,2010

Park Board Director Bruce Reinhardt smiles a welcome to one of the new residents at Western Gateway Park, a Barn Owl who it is hoped will bring more balance in the gopher population. The critters have had no significant natural enemies to curb their mound and tunneling activities in the Park's grassy areas. Enjoying free rein in the baseball fields has caused significant and potentially dangerous damage to the fields renovated last year. Welcome, Owl! Invite your friends and family!

owl release

NorCal Town Using Owls To Combat Gophers
Jan 8, 2010 CBS News Channel 13, Sacramento


A Nevada County town is using biological warfare in a battle to get rid of thousands of gophers that are overtaking a city park and destroying newly renovated ball fields and picnic areas.  They are planning an aerial assault using Barn Owls.

Thousands of mounds created by gophers dot Penn Valley's Western Gateway Park.  The town has tried almost everything including chemical baits and propane to rid themselves of the rodents.  Now they are turning to Barn Owls. 

"The Barn Owl has been known to eat a large quantity of rodents, including gophers," said Bruce Reinhardt who came up with the plan to bring Barn Owls to the park. "Hopefully we'll attract enough Barn Owls here to control the gophers.

The owls are great hunters but lousy builders. So the town is making nests for the owls and putting them throughout the park.  The hope is Barn Owls will be nesting soon and eating well even sooner.

One pair of the owls can eat up to 3,000 rodents a year.

Penn Valley Little League ballfield rehab

Penn Valley ball fields undergo rehabilitation, 2009
and Shirl Mendonca writes in Grass Valley's THE UNION newspaper July 27, 2009

“Take me out to the ballgame, take me out to the crowd.”

And to the fun.

During the season, Western Gateway Park in Penn Valley is home to nearly 500 baseball games.

With four recently refurbished ball fields, the park is host to the Penn Valley Little League, the Ken Harper Master League for those over age 40, and the Gold Country Senior Softball League for those over age 50.

A few of the local schools use the ball fields for mid-week softball tournaments, and various tournaments are held at the fields on select weekends during the summer. This is a busy park when it comes to baseball and softball. It is also a very dedicated group of players … dedicated to the game and dedicated to taking care of the ball fields.

Little League has wrapped up for the season but there are still plenty of senior softball games to enjoy.

Gold Country Senior Softball is slo-pitch softball that began in the early 1980s. Team members re-draft at the start of each season and currently range in age from 50 to 81.

The seniors play with two first bases, one for the runner and one for the fielder to make it safer for a play at first base. They also use two home plates to avoid any possible collision at home.

These and other precautions are taken to make these games both safe and fun to watch. Everyone is out to have a good time, from the beginner to the 75-year-old superstar, including the two women who play and two current members who are in the Senior Softball Hall of Fame, Jim Tetzlaff and Ken Puckett.

This is also the league that volunteers countless hours keeping the fields in great shape.

With over 160 players in the senior league, there are 13 different teams to root for. The weeknight league consists of 10 teams that play on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 5:30 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. through August.

Three additional teams play on Saturday mornings at 9:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m., and their weekly games last into September.

You can check out the team members, the stats for each player and check the schedule at www.gcssasoftball.org.

Dave Finch, a relative newcomer to Penn Valley and Lake Wildwood, had not played baseball in over 40 years. He joined one of the Saturday teams and has repeatedly mentioned to me what a great group it is and what a good time he is having.

Dave also commented on how the players take care of each other with true sportsmanship, offering encouragement, tips and camaraderie.

On a recent Tuesday evening, I caught a glimpse of these guys in action. And there was Jeff Ackerman out in left field. He had a great running shoe-top catch for the last out of the game. Nice grab, Jeff.

Volunteers patch the tennis courts, 2008

September 13, 2008 Tennis Court Workday
Tennis Court Workday 09.13.08-2

September 13th, 2008 Steve and Nancy Eubanks coordinated 15 volunteers who worked on the courts at Western Gateway Park most of the morning. The District voices a BIG thank you to all who helped. Also a Big thank you to all the people who did the prep-work of killing the weeds, pulling the weeds out of the cracks, and filling the cracks with sand in preparation for this work day.