Merced Co. Sheriff calls for lake, parks to close for Independence Day weekend

Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke issued a dire warning to county residents over the recent spike in coronavirus cases in the north Valley and opted to take aggressive action heading into the Independence Day weekend.

In a public message on Thursday, Warnke announced he requested – and was granted – permission to close three Merced County parks.

Merced’s Yosemite Lake, Snelling’s Henderson Park, and Hagaman Park near Hilmar, will be closed for visitors during Fourth of July.

Merced County Sheriff’s deputies will be posted at the three parks to steer visitors away from gathering at the park sites and lake.

“Please take responsibility for your actions,” he said. “We have to take it seriously.”

Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at