Valley officials give tips for spending Memorial Day weekend at lakes near metro Phoenix
May 26, 2023, 11:00 AM | Updated: 11:00 am
(KTAR News Photo/Balin Overstolz-McNair)
PHOENIX — County officials have a message for those planning to spend their Memorial Day weekend at any of the lakes near metro Phoenix.
“[We] just want to keep reminding people, wear your life vest and keep hydrated on those trails,” Maricopa County Supervisor Thomas Galvin said.
Galvin was joined by Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office deputies who specialize in water search and rescue Thursday, as well as others who monitor the trails around Lake Pleasant.
They want to make sure you’re aware of some of the dangers present at the Valley’s most popular and easiest to access lake.
MCSO Detective Robert Marske, who looks into water incidents, shared the grim reality of ignoring safety tips.
“The hard days for me … seeing people’s happy day go dark and tragic in an instant,” Marske said.
“And then having to report that tragedy to the family. It’s happened way too much.”
Last year, there were 11 drownings and several deaths on Maricopa County trails.
Marske and other deputies explained Lake Pleasant is a hotspot for incidents because it’s close to the Valley, does not require a boat to access much of its shoreline and attracts less experienced swimmers, such as kids, teens and adults overconfident in their swimming abilities.
The Lake Pleasant Regional Park has also indicated that the park may unexpectedly close due to capacity limits. Shoreline camping is currently prohibited.
“I would just let people know that if they’re excited to have fun with their friends and family this weekend, just to pause and take stock of what they’re doing,” Galvin said.
Unexpected weather like high winds and lack of safety awareness among other boaters are other risks to be aware of at Lake Pleasant this weekend.
The higher water level also reduces available shoreline, which leads to more crowding and a higher risk of an incident occurring.
“With the higher water level, boaters need to be more aware of debris in the waterway,” Marske said.