"Discovered" in 1772 by Pedro Fages, Tulare Lake's means, "rush," after the name given to the marsh lands of the San Joaquin Valley, "Los Tulares (Place of Rushes). Tulare Lake was one of 2 seasonal lakes in the Tulare Basin, the other, smaller one was the Buena Vista Lake. They would be dry in summer, but starting in the winters they would start to fill, and by summer Tulare Lake could have a surface area greater than Lake Tahoe, but it was only 45 feet deep at its record peak.

Tulare Lake's marshy environment was ideal for hunters. People who lived near the shores literally would shoot ducks at their leisure and be home for the evening meal. There were also ample fish by the tubful, they weren't good eating, so they usually were fed to livestock.

Today however, Tulare Lake is marked as "dry" on maps. The result of the Swamp and Overflowed Lands Act in 1852 that allowed for reclamation districts. As the water was diverted from Tualre Lake and new reservoirs created the lake slowly dried up and its fertle lake bed used for farming. Although it still vaguely appears in El Nino years.

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