Bonito Lake is one of those places that many of us in the Sun City escape to when we need some relief from the heat.

However, Bonito Lake has been closed since 2012 due to excessive fire damage. It was suppose to reopen in 2018, but there have been further delays. The damage was caused by the Little Bear Fire in 2012. It was started by lightning and burned almost 45,000 acres.

These days, it's hard to tell if Bonito Lake will ever reopen, especially now that the Lincoln National Forest is closed for the summer; although Bonito Lake is surrounded by Lincoln National Forest, it is not technically in the park.

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If you're like me, who would frequent Bonito Lake to fish and camp, then you know it's a great spot, but if you are also like me, then you are unaware about the insane history of Bonito Lake that includes a massacre and a sunken city.

According to Mysterious Universe, it all started in 1880's when the Gold Rush hit Bonito City, where many came in search of gold. A town flourished in Bonito City that included a schoolhouse, three general stores, a saloon, a post office, a hotel, a boarding house, a blacksmith and even a law office. Cute, right?

Michael Diane Weidner via Unsplash
Michael Diane Weidner via Unsplash

Well, that quaint little Bonito City dream was short lived when in the early 1920's, Southern Pacific Railroad began construction of a dam in the area- bringing Bonito City to meet its underwater fate.

By then, Bonito City was already on the decline, shops had closed down and the hope of finding some gold was gone. The remaining residents were told to leave. Some buildings were already torn down and others remained standing at the reservoir filled. Bonito City became Bonito Lake.

How cool is that? I didn't even tell you about the massacre that happened at Bonito City in 1885 by Martin Nelson! But that's a story for a different day.

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