Photo courtesy of Omar Negrin / The Reporter.
A man was found swimming in a portion of the lake at the Environmental Center at Kendall Campus that is about 20 feet deep on Jan. 13 around 12:45 p.m., according to a public safety report and College officials.
The swimmer, whose age is not listed on the report was identified as Maximillian Gonzalez. According to public safety assistant chief Carlos Tinoco, Gonzalez was “cooperative” and left without issue. He was escorted off campus and told not to return to the College and issued a trespass warning by Miami-Dade Police, according to the report.
“I’ve been at the Environmental Center for almost two years and we’ve never had a problem of anyone swimming at the lake without permission,” said the Center’s director Enrique Infanzon.
The lake is about 600 feet long and 850 feet wide. Its depth varies from two to 35 feet depending on the area, Infanzon said. It takes up two of the property’s nine acres.
The Environmental Center is a protected wildlife area, with access restricted to volunteers, students and staff. Visitors, including College faculty who wish to tour the facility with their classes, must make a previous appointment. It features pine rockland, hammocks, butterfly gardens, native plants, and an organic garden.
Infanzon believes Gonzalez jumped a fence on the north side of the complex and started swimming until he was spotted by a staff member in the isolated area. It is unknown for how long he was swimming in the lake. No cameras are installed near the lake.
Infanzon warns others that might consider taking a dip into the lake, not to. Some parts of the lake, he said, are not very visible because of the foliage and there isn’t a vehicle in the vicinity that can be used to pull out anyone who might have problems in the water.
“I am more concerned about what could happen to someone who tries to swim in a wild lake that hasn’t been worked on,” Infanzon said. “No one swims [in] that lake. As far as I know, no one knows what’s [in] the lake. We don’t have any alligators, but I’m more concerned as to what could happen to a person that is swimming in an area where they’re not supposed to. Anything could happen.”
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