Merced County closing parks, lakes during 4th of July weekend amid COVID-19 concerns

Officials say they want to reduce the cases of COVID-19 and potential hospitalizations in Merced County.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The busiest boating holiday of the year is upon us, but a popular north valley destination is closed.

Three popular Merced County lakes will be closed for the Fourth of July weekend to help mitigate spreading the coronavirus, officials say.

From Friday, July 3, to Sunday, July 5, Lake Yosemite in Merced, Hendersen Park in Snelling and Hagaman Park in Livingston are closed to the public.

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The county's decision is in collaboration with the Merced County Sheriff's Office, Merced County Public Health Department and the Merced County CEO's office.

Officials say they want to reduce the cases of COVID-19 and potential hospitalizations in Merced County.

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The parks will reopen on Monday, July 6.

The Cunningham family is headed to Lake Don Pedro. Their annual trip usually includes a stay at the Hacienda Villas.

"This summer we're doing a little differently, and camping on the boat and taking the whole family - doing a little bit of old school mixed with new school," says Mike Cunningham.

Despite the change in plans, the nature-fueled trip means an appreciation of the outdoors for their three little ones.

"The biggest thing is teaching our children about nature and just enjoying life to the fullest," he adds.

As for other North Valley waterways, the Merced irrigation district is expecting a busy weekend at Lake McSwain and Lake McClure.

Camping is full, but day use is still available.

Park rangers and Mariposa county sheriff's deputies will be patrolling the area not only to make sure people follow social distancing guidelines, but also because this year no fireworks or wood fires are allowed.

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