PARADISE, Calif. - Locals say they are being forced to pay an excessive amount of money to enjoy Paradise Lake. They said they are now being charged daily rates, and can not procure the less expensive annual passes.
Action News Now reporter Stephanie Lin said as the weather is heating up, a day out on the water sounds pretty nice. She went up to Paradise Lake to ask boaters and fishermen but how much they are willing to pay for using the lake.
"This is crazy!" said Sheryl McAllister. She said there was no notice about the increased fees.
"I can't afford to come here if it's going to be that much money," she added.
The daily boating rate is $10, parking included, which is no change from last year. This year there is no option available to purchase an annual pass. Previously the pass would have cost $40, and would have allowed lake privileges for the entire year.
"It feels like something very dear to me has been taken away from me," said local fisherman, Michael Gordon. The 70-year-old man described it as, "...losing a good friend or a place you love very much."
Gordon says the Paradise Irrigation District (PID), which manages the lake, has not responded to him and his inquiries about the new, higher rates.
"They have to pay the daily rate until we transition over," explained Kevin Phillips, PID District Manager.
Phillips told Action News Now that the Paradise Irrigation District no longer manages the lake. Now, it is in the hands of Paradise Recreation and Parks.
Phillips said, "We didn't want to get to the point where we were transitioning monies collected early on…. and figuring out what percentage we could keep and what goes to them."
The switch will allow the PID team to re-focus more fully on recovery efforts on the ridge, explained Phillips.
He said it will probably be July before the Recreation and Parks District will figure out if there will be a season pass or a prorated rate.
Meanwhile, locals like Sheryl and Mike are stuck treading water, unsure where they can go to affordably beat the heat.
"I think its an excuse on their part," said Mike. "They are waiting for people to go away and not complain," he added.
The sign to use the lake still lists the yearly pass as an option, even though those passes are not currently being sold.
Sheryl was asked what she was going to do now that she has this new information. She said she was going to enjoy the lake a little longer and think about where she might want to go if the cost does not go down soon. She said she may have to go somewhere else to recreate.
If you would like to visit Paradise Lake, it is open from 5 a.m. to sunset, Fridays through Mondays.
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