Although the community was on fire for a full 4th of July firework display on the 3rd this year, plenty of residents and out of towners celebrated America’s birthday enjoying a variety of activities at Mineral County’s Walker Lake.

Others were home, celebrating their patriotic spirit with picnic cookouts and family time, despite the stormy skies. Even Walker Lake didn’t “miss the boat” as different sized watercraft took to the water, in spite of a difficult boat launch area.

One visitor stated, “We can get them in, but it’s tough to get the boats out. The Sea Do’s were an easy launch, but someone just needs to throw down some heavy gravel out here to help eliminate the sinking and the deep water launching. We want to use the lake, but it’s not an appropriate launch for most vehicles. That’s not a lot to ask, because we do love it here.”

This visitor, who did not disclose his name, stated that driving a truck so far back into the water is difficult on most vehicles. The tail end of a truck and the exhaust pipes go underwater to get the boat trailer in and out.

In speaking with Cassie Kirkendoll from Reno, she explained that July 4 is their annual trek to the lake, as they meet up with family as their central location.

“Our family has been coming here since the 60’s, before I was born. We’re all spread out, from Reno to Burbank, but we love seeing this lake. I grew up here, sleeping on the ground right at the water’s edge. My cousins and I can remember such great memories here at Walker Lake – I want half of my ashes sprinkled here when I die someday. We are in our 30’s, but we have elderly family members that love coming out with us. This time there are over ten rigs here, with our boats, ATV’s and tons of kids. We want our kids to know our memories, growing up at Walker Lake camping trips.”

Gary Allred, who was originally from Bishop, but now resides in Ridgecrest, remembered hanging out with Jack Roark.

“My dad built his race engines, so we’d make our camping trips out here, visiting with Jack and his wife Gladys at the house, or we’d hang out over at the Cliff House. Jack would start up his “Walker Lake Monster” engine and the locals would complain about the noise. We had our favorite meeting places and would end up having family reunions, as everyone wanted to meet here. It was thee hot spot and I hope to see it come back again. It’s a special place.”

Leaning against Allred’s flat bottom boat, the group smiled after expressing fond memories of their past trips out to the lake. Kirkendoll mentioned that a few of the bathrooms were deadlocked and there were no envelopes at the pay stands, but other than that, her only complaint was not enough time to spend camping at Walker Lake.

“The spiders aren’t bad this year and the water is clear,” she shared.

Spokesperson Lisa Ross, a representative from the Carson City Bureau of Land Management stated that the oldest restroom facilities remain closed now, with the newer ones remaining open. The envelopes were most likely out due to the summer and holiday flow of campers coming through. Ross was happy to learn about the use of boats on the water and the campers that turned out at Sportsman Beach were a strong participation.

“There are still plans to add a sufficient boat launch out there, so we like to know there’s a need for it. It’s slated on our website to happen,” Ross concluded.