Maricopa County is reminding members of the public about the dangers that go along with fun, summer outdoor activities like hiking, camping, and boating. Today at Lake Pleasant Regional Park, Maricopa County Supervisor Thomas Galvin joined members of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) and Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department to provide important safety information to residents and visitors.
“We know thousands of people will leave town over Memorial Day Weekend to escape the heat and relax with family and friends, and I think that’s wonderful,” said Supervisor Galvin, who represents District 2. “However, I’m concerned about an uptick in fatal boating accidents on our lakes and, of course, heat deaths and heat-related illnesses from people who have not prepared properly for extended outdoor activity.”
Lake Pleasant is the county’s most visited park and is wildly popular on Memorial Day Weekend with cars lined up for miles along the Carefree Highway, waiting for their chance to get to the lake. While most visitors are vigilant about safety, the lake did have 11 fatal accidents last year along with several rescues. In fact, MCSO was called to 105 search and rescues across county lakes and trails in 2022.
“We train diligently to ensure we are prepared when called upon to save lives. These rescues are challenging, require a lot of resources and put our deputies in harm’s way,” said MCSO Chief Dave Letourneau. “Our message to the public is to please take proper safety precautions when exploring the beautiful outdoors, this in turn will reduce the chance you’ll put yourself in a position of having to be rescued.”
To keep visitors hydrated for Memorial Day weekend, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Memorial Fund has donated nine pallets of water for deputies to distribute along county lakes and trails.
On the lake:
- Never swim alone or leave kids unattended near water
- Avoid being distracted while watching kids near water
- If a child goes missing, always check the water first
- Wear a life-jacket
- Protect yourself from the sun with sunblock, sunglasses, and a hat.
- Drink plenty of water
On the trail:
- Never hike alone
- Notify someone if you are going hiking in case your cell connectivity fails.
- Bring plenty of water and snacks.
- Stay on the trail
- Don’t touch wildlife
To plan your visit to one of Maricopa County’s 12 regional parks, visit maricopacountyparks.net.