With love for the environment and preserving beauty in mind, the lake’s “Friends” plan family-friendly events in L.A. County’s largest regional park, Castaic Lake, members said Tuesday.
“I think it’s a local gem,” said Courtney Tole, the communications director for the Friends of Castaic Lake board. “People know it’s there, but they think they don’t have access if they don’t have a boat.”
The Friends of Castaic Lake, or FOCL, looks to spread awareness as a nonprofit group of volunteers who dedicate themselves to “support and enhance the operation of” the park through fundraising and other projects.
The group hosts a series of events each month to that end. The first Saturday of each month, for example, the group holds the landscaping event, “Pride in the Park.” Led by FOCL’s Landscape Committee, supporters come to help with maintenance and replant areas around the lake, including irrigation.
Since the Friends group began in 1983, members have worked with dedicated volunteers who started groups like the Landscape Committee, along with fishing rod and tackle shops, youth groups and other volunteers in the area, to work on preserving Castaic Lake and its surroundings, including campsites.
Participants are to “go with a goal in mind,” Tole said.
While anyone is welcome to join, volunteers are to wear proper clothes for working outdoors, including close-toed shoes and gloves. Tools and other landscaping materials are provided for use, Tole added.
As a part of the landscape work, dead trees are chopped down and sold to guests of the campsites in need of firewood, Tole said.
The Friends of Castaic Lake have also raised money in providing some form of aid to the administration, from working with lifeguards to maintenance to buying uniforms for the lake’s staff, superintendent Norm Phillips said Wednesday.
Following this are “Pride in the Lake” days on the second Saturday of every month. Activities for guests include picking up trash around the lake to preserve its natural beauty and maintain its cleanliness, Tole said.
With the summer months upon us and crowds gathering at the lake more regularly, the group has really focused its efforts on “Pride in the Lake” day, Tole said, hopeful more manpower will help with all the more work to be done to keep the lake healthy. The next “Pride in the Lake” day takes place Aug. 11.
“Unfortunately and fortunately, a lot of people use the lake but do not know how to clean it,” she said.
Youth groups ranging from the Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts have helped, along with families who go to the park who camp or fish, Tole said. As well as community support, high school students looking for community services hours can easily fulfill those hours working with the Friends of Castaic Lake, she continued.
Other events through the Friends of Castaic Lake included “Fishin’ & Fun for Kids Day,” which brought out 450 children to practice fishing at the lake. Fishing rods, tackle and other materials were donated by sponsors and volunteers in attendance, Tole said.
The Friends of Castaic Lake meet on the third Tuesday of each month at the Boating Instruction Safety Center, or BISC, building by the lake. For information about attending a meeting or for upcoming events, call (661) 257-4050 or visit castaiclake.com/focl.html.