The weather is warming up and the Fourth of July is right around the corner. After the tragic death of Kaitlyn Oliver last weekend, safety is a key issue on Bell County lakes.
The Army Corps of Engineers will be doubling the number of park rangers out for the Fourth of July. They said the Belton and Stillhouse Hollow lakes see more than 500,000 people on July Fourth weekend, and there are a few things rangers want the public to keep in mind.
If you want to swim, Temple Lake Park and Westcliff Park have designated swimming areas off limits to boats. These areas have less vegetation to get caught in and a gradual slope. All other areas of the parks, however, are open to boat traffic.
If you want to take a boat out, think of a cove as a parking lot. Swimmers always have the right of way and you need to check all around your boat before leaving the area.
Finally, if you want to drink, make sure you don’t bring any glass bottles out to the lake. While drinking is fine, being drunk is not. Park rangers said they will be on the lookout for anyone who gets too intoxicated.
Lead Park Ranger Bradley Ellis is urging people to recreate responsibly.
“Know your limits,” he said. “Don’t come out here and get impaired where you can’t operate your vehicle or boat or come out here and endanger others and yourself.”
In addition to the park rangers, the Texas Game Wardens will also be out in their boats and the Temple Police Department wil be on patrol.