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MCSO: Several lakes hit capacity on Sunday

Posted at 12:56 PM, May 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-29 15:35:25-04

If you're planing a day out on the lake this Memorial Day weekend, be prepared. Lake Pleasant, Needle Rock and Saguaro Lake were at full capacity come 11:30 a.m. on Sunday. It's unknown when the lakes will reopen to new visitors. 

Both Lake Pleasant and Saguaro Lake reached capacity Saturday, closing temporarily to visitors. Saguaro Lake reopened around 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. At Lake Pleasant, the west side entrance reopened just before 6 p.m. 

For hours, there were long lines of people sitting in their cars instead of out on the lake. They waited it out when Lake Pleasant temporarily closed after reaching capacity. 

“We kind of got down a little, got a little sad, but then we realized they told us it was just going to be a wait," said Brenden Tuttle, a visitor to the lake. 

Some visitors waited about 20 minutes as the park let one car in as one came out. 

“It was crazy. I didn’t expect it to be quite so robust. But the lake seems to be handling it quite well," said visitor Max Rotzler. 

MCSO says the lake reaches capacity when all the parking spots are taken or the recreation sites are full. 

“We tried to find a bay to get back into so we could fish and enjoy the day. Every bay had 5, 6, 7, 8 boats in it," said Ed Gallew, who spent the day out at the lake. 

As the afternoon went on, and the rush was over, people could get back to what they really came for. 

“A lot of fun, a lot boats, a lot of waves. It was great," Gallew said. 

For those coming out over the holiday weekend, some advice from those who went through it today: 

“A little earlier, come out a little earlier," Tuttle said.

The Butcher Jones, Blue Put and Water Users recreation areas were placed under the same restriction on Saturday. 

On Friday Memorial Day traffic caused major backups, and everyone headed north was asked to give themselves extra time.

Anyone headed to the Grand Canyon was also asked this weekend to plan ahead and expect much larger crowds than normal.

The sheriff's office determines capacity based on the number of allocated parking spaces at the recreation areas it manages, which also include Bartlett, Apache and Canyon lakes, according to Officer Courtney Palma.