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Castaic’s lower lake ends season with Labor Day crowd

More than 10,000 people visit over 3-day holiday weekend

Posted: September 4, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: September 4, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Natalie Cruz, 7, enjoys a moment in a hammock as she and sister Joana Cruz, 11, spend the day at Castaic Lake on Monday.

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Surrounded by an array of pungent barbecue smells teasing nostrils from all directions and no shortage of fun in the sun, it was easy to see why Sean Nazar, of Canyon Country, loves to go to work.

The 19-year-old lifeguard at Castaic Lake’s lower lagoon doesn’t have any complaints about his job, even when things get busy. And this weekend, things got a little busy.

The end of the holiday weekend Monday marks the end of the season for Castaic’s lower lake.

The three-day span sees more than 10,000 people at the lake, according to Dion Hatch, supervising lake lifeguard. Usually, there’s about one-third of that on a busy Sunday, Hatch said.

But being a holiday, and the last day of the season, might have brought in a little bit larger than usual crowd for Nazar’s last shift.

The lean, tanned College of the Canyons graduate is looking forward to opportunities the U.S. Coast Guard might provide next year.

Nazar is part of a four-person team — there’s a team for each of the four towers at the lake — who patrol the beach. Two people rotate on a watch from the tower, and another surveys the lake from an offshore position while a fourth person walks the beach.

It was a good weekend by all accounts, according to Nazar, who said he only had to perform one rescue during his three shifts.

There were four children that got separated from their families, but they were all returned safely, too, he said.

He talks about the end of his first year with a touch of melancholy.

“This is the last day for us to be open during the summer. So it’s kind of bittersweet,” Nazar said. “I don’t think there’s a better job out there right now for a teen.”



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