State park officials urge caution when swimming in natural waterways

Written by on July 16, 2020

State park officials urge caution when swimming in natural waterways

By Brittany Sweeney

July 16, 2020

Photo | Brittany Sweeney / WLVR

The threat of COVID-19 is shutting down many recreational activities this summer, so people are flocking to state parks. But before jumping in the water, State Parks Officials tell WLVR’s Brittany Sweeney there are a few things to remember.

On a hot summer day, Jennifer Tipka of Morgantown and her 5-year-old Grace often cool off at French Creek State Park Pool in Berks County.

“I always stay by her side or within arm’s reach and then she wears a puddle jumper in the water normally,” said Tipka.

Terry Brady with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources says a personal floatation device is an important safety measure for kids both in the pool and out on natural waterways.

“If you’re in charge of young people, I urge please, please, please keep them under your wing and don’t trust Sally, Sue the cousin to watch a young one when you brought that young child. The guards can only do so much at swimming pools. At our beaches we have no guards,” said Brady.

Capacity at PA state park pools and beaches is currently limited to 75 percent – but even so, Brady says this year some parks have seen record attendance.

He reminds families that water safety rules aren’t just for pools – but lakes, streams, and rivers as well.

“It’s a no brainer when you see water that you don’t know the depth of, you should stay out of it.”

The DCNR says heavy rainfall can make conditions even more risky.

Brady reiterates the importance of knowing the waterways. Make sure you are not jumping into a stream or a lake or even a river that you are unfamiliar with.  


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