Texas Game Wardens step up patrols on local lakes for Fourth of - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Texas Game Wardens step up patrols on local lakes for Fourth of July Weekend

Texas Game Wardens patrolling Buffalo Springs Lake to keep everyone safe (source: KCBD video) Texas Game Wardens patrolling Buffalo Springs Lake to keep everyone safe (source: KCBD video)

The 4th of July holiday weekend is considered the busiest of the year out at Buffalo Springs Lake.

So as the crowds file in for the fun, KCBD caught up with the staff out there to find out how they’ve been preparing for months, and how local law enforcement officials plan to keep things safe.

“It is absolutely the busiest weekend that we have every year,” Penny Jones, Buffalo Springs Lake promotions director, said.

Jones says last year, nearly 12,000 people came to enjoy the fireworks show.

She said they are prepared for that many or more to come to the show Monday night, even creating additional tailgating spaces to view the show from the top of the canyon this year.

“This is a special place. And it’s a great place to be on a holiday like the 4th of July,” Tom Woods, Buffalo Springs Lake resident, said.

While this holiday weekend is about fun, it’s also about keeping the crowds safe. That’s why Texas Game Wardens step up their patrol on the lake for the 4th of July weekend specifically.

“We are all about fun on the lake, I mean we’re all about it. We just ask that everybody do it safely. So we’re going to be out here in full force. We have somewhat of a saturation patrol for this lake and other area lakes where we’re bringing in area wardens to where we hit it pretty hard,” Drew Spencer, Texas Game Warden, said. “While we’ll do the regular water safety inspections, our added emphasis this weekend, as it is every summer weekend, will be upon intoxication offenses.”

Spencer says they often stop boats to check for life jackets for each rider, flotation devices, fire extinguishers, sound signals and registration cards.

He says if the driver of the boat is intoxicated, they could receive a BWI, or boating while intoxicated, which he says carries the same penalties as a DWI.

“We might see some operational issues with a boat that might tip us off that the operator might be under the influence,” Spencer said. “We, through the Water Safety Act of Texas, have the statutory authority to stop any vessel upon public waterways for the purpose of conducting a water safety inspection. And that is actually how we come upon a lot of our intoxicated individuals.”

In addition, Buffalo Springs Lake police officers and some deputies with the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office will keep watch on land.

“We want to have officers throughout the whole entire lake and then officer who are helping with traffic control,” Jones said.

And as Game Warden Spencer said, they really do believe in everyone enjoying their holiday weekend, they just want to make sure the memories created are good ones.

“I really do feel like I’m serving the public. I take it, I take it somewhat personally in keeping my lake safe," Spencer said. "When I can go home at the end of each day that we’re out here and we haven’t had a major boat accident or somebody getting injured...I call that a success."

The fireworks show at Buffalo Springs Lake is on Monday, July 3rd and will begin around 9:45 p.m.

Admission for the tailgating section is $25 per car and $50 per RV.

If you want to come into the lake it is $15 per person ages 12-64.

Children and seniors are $5.

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