Parking lots in all state parks closed due to COVID-19

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- The California Department of Parks and Recreation announced on Sunday they are temporarily closing parking lots in all state parks.

The closures were issued as a way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but residents living near a popular park in the Fresno County foothills say it's going to take more than that to stop people from flicking to the area.

Sky Harbour resident Dawn Irving says enough is enough.

Since a 'shelter in place' order was issued in the state of California, she says more and more people have flocked to the Millerton Lake Recreation Area.

In order to access it, people have to drive through her neighborhood.

"It has gotten at least 100 times worse. This is very unusual up here, this constant traffic," Irving says.

Because of the influx, Irving says a lot of drivers are parking in undesignated areas along the narrow and windy Sky Harbour Road.

On Sunday afternoon, multiple cars were seen parked along the roadway while people walked along it.

A girl was even seen sitting down right next to the road.

"And when you are coming around these tight turns up here and you come across something like that, you know, you can hit somebody," says Irving.

In an effort to reduce the number of visitors and the potential spread of COVID-19, the California Department of Parks and Recreation issued the closure of all parking lots in their 280 parks on Sunday.

Despite the orders, the parking lot remained open at the Millerton Lake Recreation Area as cars continued to pour in.

Park rangers say by the time they got the notice, people had already made their way in.

Sky Harbour residents say more needs to be done.

"The park has to shut down right now, there is no other way to take care of this, but the park and trails have to shut down," says resident Doreen Carter.

Fresno County supervisor Nathan Magsig who represents eastern Fresno County, including Sky Harbour, says issues there have been ongoing.

He urges visitors to use common sense.

"My office has received complaints about individuals who will sometimes park and block people's driveways who might live next to state parks or county parks."

Park rangers say the Millerton Lake Recreation Area parking lot will be closed by the end of day.
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