Algae, park closures and COVID-19 concerns affect Labor Day celebrations in Inland Empire

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Tuesday, September 7, 2021
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Algae warnings at several Inland Empire lakes didn't keep parkgoers from celebrating the Labor Day weekend.

YUCAIPA, Calif. (KABC) -- Algae warnings at several Inland Empire lakes didn't keep parkgoers from celebrating the Labor Day weekend.

At Silverwood Lake, where there is an algae caution advisory right now, the parking lots were full by noon on Monday. And the beach on the south side of the lake was filled with swimmers.

"I guess people want to have fun," said Eliso Soto, who came up to Silverwood Lake with dozens of members of Bethel Baptist Church in Anaheim. "There's nothing that's going to stop us."

The caution advisory means the lake is still open for swimming, although swimmers are urged not to drink the water and not to swim with open wounds or sores.

Big Bear Lake just received an algae warning, which is a more serious warning. People there have been urged not to swim in the water.

The lake at Yucaipa Regional Park has the highest algae alert right now. That lake is closed completely. In addition to the lake closure, the swimming facilities were also closed because of a lack of chemicals due to COVID-19.

It meant that people who were celebrating in the park had the place almost entirely to themselves.

"We've been having some snacks, playing (on) the playground with the kids, playing some UNO," said Raul Reyes who came to the park with his family. "Just trying to enjoy as much as we can."

Other impacts to park visitors included the decision by the U.S. Forest Service to close the San Bernardino National Forest because of the lack of available firefighting resources due to the raging wildfires across the state. This closure means most of the trails in the San Bernardino mountains are closed until at least September 17th.

Some parks were also less crowded because some families are concerned about the spread of the COVID-19 delta variant.

It was the reason one family from Highland Park decided not to celebrate on the crowded beach in Silverwood Lake, but to find a secluded place away from the crowds instead.

"We haven't gone out a lot because of COVID-19," said Luz Barraza. "So we're starting to come out, but we're trying to keep our distance between people."