Ghost Towns Resurfacing as Lakes Recede Amid Worsening Western Drought

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Every two or three years, Lake Isabella’s shoreline pulls back almost like clockwork, and the former town of Old Kernville, California, rises from its watery grave to reveal its crumbling skeleton.

Retired Hollywood cinematographer Chuck Barbee has watched the lake give up its famous ghost town many times with interest.

The main difference today, he said, is that the abandoned town, once known as Whiskey Flat, has been exposed far longer than usual. Part of it is due to dam activity and the western drought that began in 2000.

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