Local beach areas closed for summer season

Published 9:15 am Friday, September 8, 2023

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On Tuesday, Yellowjacket Beach, Earl Cook Beach, and Rocky Point Beach closed for the season and will reopen next year on May 17. Holiday and Amity Campgrounds have also closed for the season and will both reopen next year in March. Whitetail Ridge Campground will remain open through Oct. 29, and reopen Mar. 1.  

Ben Williams, chief park ranger of the natural resource management section, said the closing of the beaches and campgrounds is a part of their normal recreation area schedule. 

“We’ve been doing that for many many years. We typically close Amity campground and Holiday campground after Labor Day for the season. R. Shaefer Heard Campground will remain open all year,” Williams said. 

He said there are 117 campsites available in R. Shaefer Heard Campground for reservation. He also said while the beaches and Holiday and Amity Campgrounds are closed for the season, all of the day-use parks are still open year round. 

“All of our day-use facilities where boat ramps are staying open all year,” Williams said. “There’s still plenty of opportunities for people to come up to the recreation areas. It’s just some of the ones that require more intensive maintenance and management we close over the winter.”

As the summer comes to an end, Williams said the recreation sites had a successful year. He said this year was very similar to the recreation season in 2022. 

“We had about 2.5 million visitors then and this year was on par with that. The campgrounds usually remain full all summer, and we did have a few incidents. Between our park rangers, gate attendants and volunteers, we ended up reaching just under 14,000 people for water safety contacts — that’s where we directly speak with an individual and give them a water safety message to encourage use of life jackets and things like that. Overall, it was a good summer here,” Williams said. 

“Here at the lake, we were short-handed this year of rangers, but we were able to maneuver around some schedules and make things work where we can come out and make sure the public was enjoying the resource. Despite that, we did have a good year this year and look forward to the next summer season.”