Makin' waves and catchin' rays: Visitors hit Whiskeytown Lake for Independence Day

Whiskeytown fourth of July

Visitors from all backgrounds and across the Northstate chose to spend their Fourth of July out at Whiskeytown Lake, to take advantage of the sandy beaches, barbecues and freshwater swimming.

"We live in Redding so we come out here all the time," Jennifer Barker said.

"We recently relocated from Minnesota," Kellie McDaid said.

"I come every year. It's a tradition in our family," Alexanda Romero said.

Some even hit the road early to beat the crowds.

"We left at about 10 o'clock this morning and it wasn't too bad," McDaid said.

For some like Alexandra Romero, it's become a lifelong tradition. She said she's been coming to the lake every year since she was six years old.

"We always see people we know. So, it's kind of like a little family friend gathering every year," Romero said.

While, for others it's their first time visiting the lake.

"And so we were pretty excited about getting up in the morning and coming down here and just experiencing our first fourth of July," McDaid said.

Either way everyone has one thing in common, they're happy to be outdoors for the day.

"I think it's just about appreciating nature because America is a really beautiful place. And I think that's why people go outside on the fourth of July," Barker said.

Matthew Switzer the Whiskeytown Park Ranger Interpreter said he wasn't sure what to expect this fourth of July.

"It's been kind of hard to tell what today's turn out was going to be. It's looking like it's getting pretty busy," Switzer said.

However, he added it's been more crowded in the past. He said he thinks the slower attendance is most likely due to the holiday falling in the middle of the week.

As for the heavy smoke that settled in over the valley Tuesday night, it doesn't seem to be stopping people from enjoying their Independence Day celebrations.

Switzer said he hasn't heard any concerns from guests in the park.

His sentiments seem to reflect what visitors have to say as well.

One man said he expects a little bit of smoke in the air.

While several others, including Jennifer Barker, said they saw the smoke but weren't too concerned about it impacting their holiday.

"This morning when I went to leave, I noticed the smoke and I was a little concerned. I was hoping the lake would be clear of smoke. And you know what, it's not too bad. It doesn't smell smokey here. You can see it off in the distance but if it was really bad we probably would have stayed inside," Barker said.

Switzer added that even though the smoke doesn't seem to be impacting park goers, he wanted everyone to keep an eye on their kids throughout the day to make sure they don't have any problems.

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