Tuesday, May 25, 2021

DCNR Preparing For Start Of Swimming Season On Memorial Day Weekend; Free Sunscreen Available At Many State Parks

On May 25, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn noted that state park swimming pools and beaches will be open this holiday weekend to welcome visitors for the outdoor activities that have been so critical to our well-being during the pandemic.  

“Nothing says summer like the chance to take a dip in a pool or lake, and we’re pleased to be able to provide opportunities to cool off and have fun for our visitors this summer,” Dunn said.

Fifteen state parks have pools for the public to enjoy starting Saturday, May 29. They are typically open from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.

Visitors to park pools and beaches who are fully vaccinated are not required to wear a mask outdoors, however masks are still recommended to be worn when indoors, such as the restrooms. 

Masks for those not vaccinated are required indoors, when not actively swimming, and if unable to keep appropriate physical distance.

Dunn noted this year that construction projects and the ability to hire lifeguards is impacting schedules for the following parks:

-- Blue Knob State Park, Bedford County, the pool will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday throughout the season due to staffing issues;

-- Caledonia State Park, Adams County, due to staffing issues the pool will be closed until at least June 19;

-- Codorus State Park, York County, the pool will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday throughout the season due to staffing issues;

-- French Creek State Park, Berks County, is closed for the season  due to construction;

-- Little Buffalo State Park, Perry County, the pool will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday throughout the season due to staffing issues;

-- Nockamixon State Park, Bucks County, the opening is still to be determined due to staffing issues; and

-- Ryerson Station State Park, Greene County, the pool opening is still to be determined due to construction.

Parks not mentioned will resume their normal summer operation on May 29. DCNR is providing certification training at no cost for new lifeguards to help with recruitment. Further closures may be required.

Swimming is permitted at 35 state parks across the Commonwealth at designated beaches. Swimming beaches are open and free to the public from before Memorial Day to after Labor Day, unless otherwise posted.

With the exception of Presque Isle State Park in Erie and Fuller Lake in Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Cumberland County, all park beaches operate under the “open swim” policy, meaning you swim at your own risk. 

While lifeguards are not present, beaches are patrolled by park staff.

Because of beach restoration projects, the Quaker Race Day-Use and campground beaches at Gifford Pinchot State Park in York County are currently closed. Although weather dependent, the opening date is anticipated for mid June.

Free Sunscreen

Dunn also noted that DCNR is expanding its program offering visitors free sunscreen at state park beaches and swimming pools across the state.

The new parks to be included are: Black Moshannon, Centre County (beach); Canoe Creek, Blair County (beach); French Creek, Berks County (playground); Poe Valley, Centre County (beach); Ricketts Glen, Luzerne County (beach); Shawnee, Bedford County (beach); Tuscarora, Schuylkill County (beach); and Tobyhanna, Monroe County (beach)

This program now has the potential to reach approximately 1 million visitors at 22 state parks.

For this fifth year, all park costs are covered by the Department of Health’s Cancer Fund, in conjunction with Impact Melanoma, with each park receiving two pole-mounted, battery-operated dispensers, supplying 30+ SPF BrightGuard sunscreen applications.

For more information about swimming in state parks visit the DCNR website.

  For more information on state parks and forests and recreation in Pennsylvania, visit DCNR’s website, Click Here to sign up for the Resource newsletter, Visit the Good Natured DCNR Blog,  Click Here for upcoming events, Click Here to hook up with DCNR on other social media-- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

[Posted: May 25, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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