With the recent order from Gov. Newsom allowing most California counties to relax coronavirus restrictions on campgrounds, Lake Lopez in San Luis Obispo County is welcoming an increased number of visitors this weekend.
Capacity at Lake Lopez campgrounds had been reduced to half in response to the COVID-19 outbreak but a park official said the campground capacity will return to 100 percent Friday.
"Fortunately, our campsites are spaced out so they're appropriate to maintain physical distancing already, that's not a problem," Lopez Lake Supervising Park Ranger Matt Mohle said. "We encourage people to be safe and practice proper physical distancing. Our sites already have an eight-person capacity limit so that falls within the guidelines of 10 or less people gathering at this point."
The more than 22 miles of shoreline at Lopez Lake attracts visitors far and wide for fishing, boating, water sports, and camping.
The lake website boasts catfish weighing over 25 lbs, rustic cabins, and a comfortable climate.
Mohle said the park's campgrounds will return to 100 percent of capacity on Friday, increasing permits from 200 to about 350.
One restriction that will remain is the prohibition on visitors from outside San Luis Obispo County.
"We've had a little shift this year, obviously, having locals only but I think it's been nice for the local residents to come out and enjoy the park," Mohle said. "A lot of people coming to the park that have lived here and haven't gotten to enjoy the park. Since they're not traveling out of the area, they've gotten to come to enjoy their local park, which is nice to see."
Mohle said group camping spaces are to remain closed.
To prepare for the increase in visitors, park staff is adding more signage around the area, sanitizing restrooms, and reminding people to remain distanced.
To reserve a camping space at Lopez Lake, you must have a license with a SLO County address.
Reservations must be made over the phone and they are limited to one space per household.