From left to right, Mario Salto, Teresa Sanchez, Luz Sanchez, and Mariana Sanchez of Caldwell. (Kezia Setyawan/The Enterprise)

LAKE OWYHEE STATE PARK - During 4th of July, families from Idaho, Oregon and beyond came to the lake with their grills and floaties. The state park is open for boating, fishing and overnight camping. While the parking lot was full, families appeared to remain at least six feet apart from each other.

A sign at Owyhee Paddle Company urged customers to maintain distance. All equipment is sanitized after each use. (Kezia Setyawan/The Enterprise)

At Owyhee Paddle Company next to the lake, Kaylie Stowe said that rentals for kayaks and paddleboards were comparable to last year. There are visible differences with signs in front of the bathroom, and cleaning doesn’t happen as regularly. Visitors are bringing in their own wipes and sanitizer to keep clean. 

Mariana Sanchez played cards with some family while the rest of them went fishing at the lake. (Kezia Setyawan/The Enterprise)

For Marianna Sanchez’s family, this isn’t their typical way of celebrating the 4th of July. Usually, they have a barbeque back in Caldwell with family and friends and then watch the fireworks. Marianna’s mother, Teresa said, “It’s nice to be out after being cooped up and enjoy the water on a hot day.” 

From left to right, Florentino Espana, Lidia Ortiz, Efrain Calderon, Alicia Garcia, Lydia Calderon, Veronica Flores, Vida Calderon, Ruby Calderon, Jaden Ortiz, Rey Calderon, Mayra Calderon, Javier Calderon. (Kezia Setyawan/The Enterprise)

Families remained in clusters with picnic tables and benches near the lake. Many brought their own seating. (The Enterprise/Kezia Setyawan)

From Nevada and California, to Idaho and Oregon, this gathering happens every year for Lydia Calderon’s family. The family said that they waited until the last minute from state governments to see what orders were with regards to travel. Different members drove and flew up to Lake Owyhee, making sure to take precaution by wearing masks when traveling. Afterwards, they will go to Homedale to watch fireworks. 

Paddlers lined the banks around Lake Owyhee as other avenues of celebrating the Fourth of July have shut down. (Kezia Setyawan/The Enterprise)

Sammie Castonguay guided his son Manny with use the kayak. Castonguay is also a part of the Friends of Owyhee organization, which strives to connect community members together with a passion for the local geology. (Kezia Setyawan/The Enterprise)

From left to right, Laurie, Manny, Oshen, Neva, and Sammy Castonguay of Ontario. (Kezia Setyawan/The Enterprise)

As for Sammy Castonguay, he is spending time with his wife and kids. As the kids are balancing on the paddleboard near shore, he said, “it’s good to be in the presence of the community, and while it is important to be cautious, we can’t let that control how we enjoy our public lands.”

His wife, Laurie brought up the recent Black Lives Matter movement and how this independence day feels different. However, to her the opportunity to be outside was a way to let go of some of that anger and frustration. They are taking steps to be active and reflect on this holiday with their children why some people don’t feel included on this day. She said, “it’s important to not take for granted for what we have.”

News tip? Contact Kezia Setyawan at [email protected]

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