Rec facilities reopen in time for holiday weekend

Kaweah Marina opens boat ramps in Three Rivers, Balch Park opens for day use but not overnight camping on Memorial Day weekend

TULARE COUNTY – Local marinas were allowed to open for the Memorial Day weekend but not all of them were ready for the news.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced last week that it was reopening most recreation facilities in its Sacramento District, which includes Success Lake near Porterville and Lake Kaweah in Three Rivers. Privately-operated marinas, such as those at Kaweah Lake and Success Lake, were allowed to open boat ramps, parking lots and restrooms on May 20.

As of press time, Success Lake Marina said it was not open. Kaweah Marina said it was open but was limiting groups to 10 people per boat and was not allowing customers to use their restrooms. Success Lake Marina said it was not opening at this time.

The opening of marinas and associated boat launch facilities are consistent with current state and local public health directives. The Corps’ Sacramento District closed recreation areas at 10 water resource projects in California on March 26 to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but the Dam Operations staffs at these facilities have remained on the job during the national emergency.

The health and safety of the public, park volunteers, and Corps personnel remains the top priority. Signs have been posted to inform visitors of safe practices, cleaning services are in place and the staffs at the facilities have an adequate supply of personal protective equipment to be safe while working with the public.

The boat launch facilities could be shut down again if visitors do not adhere to social distancing guidelines or officials observe an unsafe number of large gatherings.

The Corps has coordinated with the Sherriff’s Departments in Nevada, Tulare and Fresno counties to provide boating safety and law enforcement at Englebright Lake, Pine Flat Lake, Lake Success and Lake Kaweah.

County Parks reopen

Balch Park in Tulare County also reopened on May 22, but for day use only. Balch Park offers outdoor hiking and fishing for the Memorial Day weekend but not overnight camping. The park closes at 5 p.m. on weeknights and 7 p.m. on the weekend. The fee for day use is $5 per vehicle.

“As a reminder we encourage park visitors to bring their own hand sanitizer, drinking water and continue to practice social distancing while visiting the park,” Tulare County Parks and Recreation said in a released statement.

Balch Park is one of eleven County Parks managed by Tulare County Parks and Recreation, a division of the Tulare County General Services Agency. These parks include Alpaugh Park, Bartlett Park in Porterville, Cutler Park in Visalia, Ledbetter Park in Orosi, Kings River Park near Kingsburg, Pixley Park, West Main Street Park in Visalia, Mooney Grove in Visalia, and Woodville Park. Currently all parks on spring hours Park hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Summer hours begin June 1, with day use being 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., Monday through Sunday.

While county parks remain open, playgrounds, skate areas, sports fields and arbor/picnic areas remain closed. For more information about Balch Park or the County Parks system, please visit TulareCountyParks.org and follow Tulare County Parks and Recreation on Facebook!

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