Park ranger expecting fire risk, crowds at Lake Pleasant for Memorial Day
PHOENIX– As the Valley heads into Memorial Day weekend, many locals decide to beat the heat each year by spending their time at Lake Pleasant.
Cody Contner, a park ranger at Lake Pleasant Regional Park, offered warnings and advice for the holiday weekend.
Park officials will be on the lookout for overpopulation of the lake for safety reasons, as well as a continued concern about large gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We certainly are expecting large crowds this weekend. Memorial Day is historically our busiest weekend of the year at Lake Pleasant, and we don’t feel like this year will be any different,” Contner told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona Morning News on Friday.
“Park staff will be working very hard to ensure that everyone has a fun and safe time out there, but we really expect Saturday, Sunday and Monday, all three of those days are going to be quite busy out at the lake.”
At a certain capacity that park officials will determine based on parking lot occupancy, the park will temporarily close their entrances for a few hours in order to reduce the amount of people able to enter the park. Contner recommended that people who did not wish to struggle for space or not have to deal with the potential crowds as much should arrive as early in the day as possible to beat the rush, with the park’s gates being open from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
In addition to the crowd control concerns, Contner shared that park officials also have to ensure that the no-burn ordinance is upheld by patrons of the lake.
Due to high temperatures and dry conditions in Arizona in the summer, many places across the state enact no-burn ordinances, but Contner said that these ordinances are typical for this time of the year and the rangers are prepared to cooperate in the event of a wildfire.
“We are currently in a fire ban, so that means no wood or charcoal fires, propane fires are completely fine,” Contner said.
“Of course make sure you bring plenty of water and stay hydrated out there, those temperatures are going to be hovering around 100 degrees.”