Lake Erie beaches closed for swimming more often due to wet spring

HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) — Sunshine and crowds at beaches like Woodlawn Beach State Park are a sure sign of summer in Western New York.

“I come here all the time. I come on the weekends, I come after work,” said Karen Marker of West Seneca.

Woodlawn has been open for the season since the weekend before Memorial Day.

“There’s fewer people, just handfuls. It’s usually packed, it’s mobbed,” said Marker.

“Our numbers are low. We’ve had a number of days that are rainy, windy, and due to those factors sometimes the water is closed or sometimes it’s just not a nice day to go to the beach,” said Martin Denecke, Town of Hamburg Director of Youth, Recreation & Senior Services.

Martin Denecke says since the season started, the beach has been closed for swimming at least 50% of the time. He says the wet spring we had is mostly to blame.

“The creeks that run in to the lake are flowing faster, some of the creeks are polluted so those pollutants get into the water and that affects the quality of the water,” said Denecke.

Denecke says the water is tested on a regular basis, and scientists use a model to determine whether the water quality is safe or not. Today on the first day of summer, it was closed.

“There’s a good couple groups of people you have to turn away from the water every day that it’s closed,” said Owen Casey, Lifeguard.

“Very unusual that we’ve been closed this many times but again due to the wind, rain, and other factors that’s been the case,” said Denecke.

But that doesn’t stop some people from coming to the beach.

“This is my third time out to the beach, always the same spot. The water has not been open for swimming but that’s okay,” said Maria Almasi of Orchard Park.

Denecke says Hamburg Town Beach has also been closed as much as Woodlawn has.

The closings have also impacted revenue. Admission costs $7 per car and though the numbers are down now, they hope to make that up in the next two and a half months.

For information about beaches closing, go to:

http://www2.erie.gov/health/index.php?q=beach-info

https://ny.water.usgs.gov/maps/nowcast/

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