By RHEA-FRANCES TETLEY
Since the new Lake Gregory Company took over management of the regional park and Lake Gregory, it has recently begun patrolling for the safety of those using the lake and facilities and collecting the various fees that the county has instilled on the regional park for fishing, kayaking and parking.
It was recently discovered that some scammers have been collecting fees for themselves. The scammers have reportedly been working in pairs, wearing blue shirts, carrying a clipboard and asking fishermen for their local licenses and collecting the $10 fee in cash only.
Now that the Lake Gregory Company is aware of the scam, they want the public to know to buy their licenses through www.lakegregory.com. They do have park pangers who patrol the lake hourly, checking on fishing licenses, kayak launch permits and making sure no one has any type of fire at the lake.
The Lake Gregory park rangers wear uniforms with official badges, have ticket books, carry walkie-talkies, have an identified vehicle and will print out an electronic receipt for any funds collected, although they prefer that you pay through the website.
It is preferred for fishermen to have their fishing pass in advance of them beginning to fish, instead of “getting caught” because, soon, the county may force the rangers to begin issuing tickets for not having the permit already when actually fishing. Also, patrolling the lakeshore for California fishing licenses is a fully uniformed state Fish and Wildlife warden, with state identification, who will also write tickets for fishing without a license.
Currently, the rangers are writing about 10 to 12 tickets per day, mostly for not paying to park in their pay lots or not parking properly inside parking lines along the roadways. Parking can be paid for through the LakeGregory.com app.
Ranger Liam spoke with The Alpine Mountaineer as he was writing a ticket for two cars that were parked on the dirt trail around the lake, near the Crestline-Lake Gregory Chamber of Commerce office.
“Most of the time, the tickets I must write are for ‘failing to park in a stall,’ ($70 fine); ‘double-parking’ (CA Vehicle code 22500(h), which is an $80 ticket, and, in this case, violating San Bernardino County Vehicle Code # 53.0604(d), parking to cause an obstruction or hazard, which is a $100 fine.”
The cars were parked on the dirt walkway around the lake, forcing those using the trail to enter the street to walk around it. “That is very dangerous for those driving down the street as well as for the walkers,” added Liam. The free walking trails may not be used for parking.
Parking in the pay lots at San Moritz and the north and south shore beach lots is $2 for the first hour and $1 each hour afterwards for a maximum of $10 a day. Overnight parking is prohibited in all lots.
Park rangers writing the tickets have been trained by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department to do that service for them, relieving the sworn officers for other law enforcement duties all day long. However, sheriff’s patrol units do drive around the lake and through the lots at least once daily, ticketing those violations they see. Parking in fire lanes and handicapped spots without a special permit can have a fine as high as $300. Those cars blocking fire lanes could be towed by the sheriff’s department, as they are a safety hazard in the event of an emergency.
Getting a car towed is quite inconvenient for visitors, as the impound lot is not nearby, so towing is kept to a minimum and only for safety reasons.
There are over 95 free parking spots around the lake; a yearly parking pass, which is mostly purchased by locals, gives 12 months of parking lot use for $89. “Many who have dogs and regularly use the dog park year-round purchase them for ease of access to the free dog park,” said the Lake Gregory office manager. “This is one way we can make the park and parking lots more accessible to those who use it most often. We also have yearly fishing passes for those who often fish in the lake and yearly launch fees for those who kayak frequently, instead of the daily use fees.”
All of the information is on the website www.lakegregory.com, or go to their office under the north shore stage for more details.
Lake Gregory is a county regional park, so the county sets fee guidelines for using their facilities. The Lake Gregory Company is a management company for the county. It is a violation of lake rules to swim in fishing-designated areas, as it can be very dangerous if a person’s legs get caught up in fishing line, plus they could step on a fish hook. That is why there is a designated swim beach on the west end of the lake.
The Lake Gregory Company has said they are very distressed over the scammers and do not want their visitors to be taken advantage of. They suggest always asking for ID or speaking to the office directly through their walkie-talkie if there are any questions of the identify of a park ranger.