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State Park Beaches to Open for Swimming in June

by on May 28, 2020 1:21 PM

Pennsylvania state park swimming beaches and pools will begin to open in phases in June, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said on Thursday.

Starting June 6, nearly all state park beaches will be open for swimming. That includes beaches at Bald Eagle, Black Moshannon and Poe Valley state parks in Centre County, as well as nearby R.B Winter State Park in Union County and Greenwood Furnace State Park in Huntingdon County.

Whipple Dam in Jackson Township, however, will not be opening as it is currently undergoing a dredging project. Park manager Michael Dinsmore said on Thursday that the project was originally scheduled for completion on July 10, but the contractor was unable to work for two months because of pandemic-related shutdowns on construction activity. Dinsmore said the work is now likely to be completed in September.

State park pools will remain closed through at least June 12, with most in yellow and green phase counties reopening June 13.

Capacity at park beaches and pools will be limited to 50% as the state continues efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Other preventative measures in place will include wearing a mask when not in the water, restricting visitor parking, social distancing and controlling facility access.

“Water-based activity is an integral part of the state park experience in Pennsylvania and, with appropriate protocols in place to ensure safety and as staffing permits, this department continues to reopen its state parks and forests so that Pennsylvanians can realize all the benefits of being outdoors,” Dunn said in a release.

After closing state park facilities and offices — but keeping open spaces accessible — in March during the rising spread of COVID-19, DCNR began to reopen some park facilities in yellow phase counties in early May. Boat concessions also have been permitted since then.

Nature Inn at Bald Eagle State Park reopened on May 15.

Facilities such as cabins, cottages, lodges, and yurts will open statewide on June 12.

Picnic tables in state parks are dispersed to to allow room to spread out and campsites and cabins should only be used by members of the same household, according to DCNR.

People living in counties that remain under stay-at-home orders should stay close to home for outdoor recreation.

Visitors to state parks are asked to avoid crowded areas, adhere to social distancing, wear a mask, use hand sanitizer frequently and cough and sneeze into a tissue or flexed elbow. Anyone who is sick should stay home.

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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