(Morristown) – As temperatures begin to warm up, locals and tourists alike have begun flocking to valley lakes in hopes of securing a space along the shoreline to camp, fish, swim, or simply dip their toes in the water.
This year, those visiting Lake Pleasant Regional Park are encouraged to arrive early to secure a spot. "The water levels at Lake Pleasant Regional Park are unusually high this year, and high water levels impact the amount of shoreline we have available for day-use and camping opportunities," said R.J. Cardin, Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Director.
The water stored at Lake Pleasant Regional Park comes from two main sources: the Colorado River via the Central Arizona Project (CAP) canal, and runoff from the Agua Fria River. CAP pumps Colorado River water into the lake during the fall and winter months, and releases water during the spring and summer.
Staff anticipate this challenge will continue to occur thru mid-July until CAP has drawn down enough water to increase shoreline availability. Currently, the Concrete Spillway is under water; and Two Cow Cove, Jet Ski Point, and Fireman's Cove, which are popular destinations for shoreline camping, are near capacity.
At this time staff are asking park visitors to:
- Plan ahead, and arrive at the park early;
- Anticipate possible closures and delays, especially during holiday weekends;
- Understand that temporary fire bans may be issued due to the lack of available shoreline;
- Respect the land; and
- Stay on designated roadways and parking areas.
To notify the public when areas have reached capacity and have to be closed, an alert will be placed at the top of the website and on the park’s home page. Alerts will remain active until the area can be reopened. When feasible, the park will also post information on social media sites, as it becomes available.
Those planning on visiting Lake Pleasant Regional Park on Saturday, April 1, are encouraged to plan accordingly as two large scale events will be taking place at the park, and will impact traffic and parking in some areas. The ten-lane east parking lot will be closed for the Prickly Pedal Mountain Bike Race. Parking in the west ten-lane lot will be limited from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. as family and friends participate in a kid’s race, and attend an after party and awards ceremony for race participants.
The second event will consist of a marathon race taking place from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. at the north entry station. Race participants will start at the four-lane boat ramp, head up Castle Creek Drive, and out of the park running north along Castle Hot Springs Road toward Crown King. Please plan accordingly to avoid event traffic.
In addition, Paddlefest will close down the north entry station to event traffic only on April 8. The closure will impact traffic to the areas of Fireman’s Cove, Cottonwood Cove, and parking at the four-lane boat ramp on. To avoid event traffic, staff recommend using the main entry station and ten-lane boat ramp. The family-friendly event runs from 5:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is open to the public to attend for no additional charge, except for the standard park entry fees.
While a campsite in the Roadrunner or Desert Tortoise campground may not be the preferred choice for camping, it does ensure park visitors will have a dedicated campsite awaiting their arrival. Individuals considering a visit over the Memorial Day holiday are encouraged to book sites as soon as possible as there are a limited number of sites available. Reservations may be booked at https://maricopacountyparks.org/.
It is recommended that those planning a visit to the park check the website at www.maricopacountyparks.net/park-locator/lake-pleasant-regional-park/shoreline-access/ for current updates, or contact the park's entry station at (928) 501-1710. As temperatures continue to rise, so will traffic at the entry station, which may prohibit staff from answering calls. The website is available 24/7 and will be updated regularly.
For more information on upcoming park programs and events, please visit http://www.maricopacountyparks.net/park-locator/lake-pleasant-regional-park/.