Lake Poway in east San Diego County. Photo by Antonio Zugaldia via Wikimedia Commons

The county Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Wednesday to direct the Department of Parks and Recreation to work with outside agencies to keep regional lakes and reservoirs indefinitely open for recreational activities.

Supervisor Joel Anderson, who made the proposal, said keeping such resources open “is vital to the health and wellness of those who live in the Back Country.”

“I am grateful to my board colleagues for recognizing the importance of today’s action,” said Anderson, whose district includes the eastern part of San Diego County.

Anderson said his office received more than 700 letters supporting the proposal.

To ensure that lakes and reservoirs remain open to the public, the county will work with the city of San Diego, the San Diego County Water Authority and Sweetwater Authority, according to Anderson’s office.

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, residents learned that outdoor activities were safe, Anderson said, but public access to lakes and reservoirs was threatened by city budget cuts.

According to Anderson’s office, while the county government provided one-time funding to help lakes remain open, public access was limited to several times a week. Wednesday’s action “will ensure a long-term solution to this issue,” Anderson said.

In a statement, Mark Hennelly, a vice president of California Waterfowl, credited Anderson and his colleagues for their efforts. George Courser, chairman of the Sierra Club’s conservation committee, praised Anderson for an “elegantly simple concept” for much-needed recreation opportunities.

“Our county’s reservoirs provide equity access to fishing, boating, hiking, bird watching and other enjoyable and healthy outdoor recreation activities,” Courser said.

City News Service contributed to this article.

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