Guest Opinions

McCall alcohol-free zones were misunderstood. Here’s 2017 plan.

Jay Masterson
Jay Masterson

Last summer several Treasure Valley media outlets ran stories that fueled the impression alcohol that was banned throughout McCall and that North Beach was completely closed during the Fourth of July. This couldn’t have been further from the truth.

The Idaho Statesman was not among them. We wish to take this opportunity to set the record straight so there will be no confusion this year.

McCall leaders did designate city parks and beaches as alcohol-free zones, but it was not a communitywide ban. And while the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation did not allow alcoholic beverages at Ponderosa State Park or its North Beach unit on Payette Lake over the holiday, both areas remained open to the public.

Our goal is to foster a safe and healthy atmosphere here that allows everyone to enjoy the Fourth of July. McCall is a great vacation destination to make lifelong memories with your family, but it’s a place where adults can have fun, too.

This year McCall community leaders are easing restrictions in hope of finding a compromise. While alcohol will not be permitted at our beachfront parks from 12:01 a.m. July 1 through 12 p.m. July 5, it can be consumed at nonlakefront parks, including Gold Glove Park, which is hosting a softball tournament on the Fourth of July. The only city of McCall sites affected are Legacy, Rotary, Davis, Art Roberts and Brown parks.

Although there are no restrictions on alcohol within Ponderosa Park Campground, alcohol will not be allowed at Ponderosa State Park’s North Beach Unit during that same time frame — 12:01 a.m. July 1 through 12 p.m. July 5.

However, all the affected sites will remain open to the public. Furthermore, the Valley County Sheriff’s Office, the enforcing agency on the water of Payette Lake, is loosening holiday boating restrictions at North Beach since it’s such a prime location for swimming, kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, waterskiing and wakeboarding.

In addition to nonmotorized activities, the Valley County Sheriff’s Office will open a 150-foot section of beach to motorized watercraft on Independence Day weekend. North Beach boater access will start where the North Fork of the Payette River flows into Payette Lake and will extend 150 feet east. Valley County will also move the buoy line 100 feet closer to shore in line with standard no-wake zones on Payette Lake.

Plus, there are still plenty of places to go “adulting.” Our “10 Days of Fourth of July Fun” guide — available at numerous locations throughout Valley County and online at — identifies family-friendly events, where parking and alcohol restrictions will be observed, and things to do as adults.

Whether or not you have a family in tow, McCall is still a great Fourth of July getaway.

Jackie Aymon is a third-generation Idahoan who has dedicated her tenure as mayor of McCall to “keeping McCall moving forward.” Jay Masterson, McCall Area Chamber board president, is a local business owner with a background in the high-tech industry.