Sheri Samson
A group of kayakers enjoy a beautiful day at Walker Lake

Over 20 kayaks, paddle boards and boats were lined up at Monument Beach for a sponsored Walker Lake Day in the sun on Saturday. With shade covers erected and a trough full of iced water and sodas, the shoreline was an inviting spot of enjoyment as a family day.

Assisting in making this happen were the efforts of the 9/11 Memorial Mt. Grant Challenge group, the local Lion’s Club, Mineral County Search & Rescue with Glenn Bunch available in the county boat and many attending were from the Sportsmans Club. They shared the same intentions in mind – “create a community event at the county beach to celebrate the excitement of rising waters and spur on the return of lake recreation.”

Vehicles lined up on the leveled areas, with children bounding toward the water to join in different water-related choices. Kids were encouraged to try floating in a kayak, as they were pushed by adults or paddling out alone with an oar. The available kayaks had been supplied by local individuals willing to share the sport with others that had attended. With the lake water providing a smooth, glassy surface the kayakers were venturing well out into the deepest water to enjoy the fulfillment of morning fun.

Spokesman Dave Womack explained that a $7,000 tourism grant was given toward marketing the lake and for the upcoming Mt. Grant Challenge, held the weekend of Sept. 9, as a remembrance to the 9/11 Memorial.

“This is the pre-kickoff toward the marathon dream we see the Challenge becoming. Each year it is growing larger since it started in 2011. We didn’t begin our efforts thinking it would grow as it has, but many of us want it to start as a kayaking across the lake, then the hike up to the top point, then bicycle down for those marathon athletes participating. Since the Challenge keeps snowballing with people coming in from the U.S. and other countries, we need to think bigger to create even more interest for those outdoor, adventure seekers,” Womack shared.

Womack, himself a dedicated kayak enthusiast, shared that he had completed a seven-day trip around Tahoe in his own kayak, stopping each night to rest but making the journey a successful memory. “Any day on the water is a great one,” he stated.

Preparation work at Monument Beach had taken place the week before Saturday’s event, with county tractors moving dirt and evidence that a boat ramp is also in the works. Entry into Monument Beach had level ground and clean-up had been done for easy parking near the picnic covers. Driving areas closer to the lake water had been scrapped of rocks, creating parking areas and clearer beach enjoyment.

Early Saturday, volunteers such as Wade Barton from Sign City and Robbie Mathis, as well as Rick Isom and others from the Walker Lake Crusaders had picked up, raking up the dried weeds, while burning them into small piles in an effort of further cleaning the water’s edge as a recreational area.

The Walker Lake Crusaders representative, Toby Montoya and local resident David Bowen had previously secured a trash receptacle attached to a pole, at the beach location, providing beach goers a safe location to clean up their daily debris.

Many efforts are being made to attract visitors and encourage locals to return to the safe, healthy waters of Walker Lake. Enjoying the influx of fresh river water into the lake has currently increased the lake one inch per day. At this event, it was announced that the lake had officially hit a nine-foot increase since January 2017 according to Saturday morning’s reading.