North Texans are gearing up for the Memorial Day weekend and for some, that means a trip to the lake or park during these challenging times
Game wardens with Texas Parks and Wildlife will be out in full force ensuring everyone is safe.
Lynn Creek Park at Joe Pool Lake sees about 20,000 people per day on a typical holiday weekend.
Those wanting to visit should know there are some changes this year.
“All our parks are not 100% open. They’re restricted,” said Duane Strawn, director of the Grand Prairie Parks, Arts & Recreation Department.
“This is going to be our first run at how we can run people through our parks system and get them to social distance and still come and enjoy the lake.”
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To help with social distancing, Lynn Creek Park will only allow 500 vehicles in at a time.
“And once we hit that number then we shut down until 10 cars leave and let 10 cars in. It’s a terrible way to do lake parks on Memorial Day weekend but it is what it is,” he said. “Same way at Loyd Park, same with the Oasis.”
Park rangers will be on hand to keep an eye on the crowds, while Grand Prairie police and game wardens will be patrolling Joe Pool Lake.
“We definitely recommend everyone before heading out definitely checks with local community ordinances and follows any CDC and local guidelines that are in place for public safety,” said TPWD spokesperson Stephanie Garcia.
“Also just checking the managing authority for whatever water body they wish to visit in case they have special restrictions.”
Strawn says they are asking boaters not to tie their vessels together when celebrating with friends.
“All the big groups getting together, we’re really having to try and police that,” he said.
“If you’re in your family unit that’s one, but otherwise everybody is going to ask you not to tie your boats up together in the big party cove.”
When it comes to enforcement, Strawn says “It’s tough. You can’t.”
He hopes visitors will be mindful and voluntarily comply.
There were 36 boating fatalities and multiple accidents on Texas waters last year, according to TPWD.
Game wardens have seen an increase of people on the water during COVID-19 restrictions and an increase in incidents since last year.