November 30, 2021

Swimming areas, pools wait on word from state to open

Todd R. McAdam/managing editor

The swimming area at Fillmore Glen State Park in Moravia is 7 feet deep, but you might want to put off jumping in until it’s actually filled with water. The coronavirus pandemic has limited the number of places where people can go to cool off as summer approaches.

You could dive 7 feet from the rim of the swimming area at Fillmore Glen State Park in Moravia.

But you might want to look first.

No water beyond the trickle of a stream. Just rocks. Many, many rocks. The dam hasn’t been installed to allow the swimming area to fill, although lifeguard stations are up and a floating rope marks the swimming area’s boundary.

Swimming holes — pools, beaches and the like — typically begin opening around Memorial Day, but not this year. They’re waiting for an all-clear from the state as it responds to the coronavirus pandemic.

Wickwire Pool, Yaman Beach and the splash pad at Suggett Park are all closed until at least July 31, in part because of the pandemic, in part because funding to hire lifeguards was cut. Other facilities are — like places across the state — waiting their turn in the state’s phased reopening plan, although 16 state swimming areas, including Green Lakes State Park in Onondaga County and Chenango Valley State Park in Broome County have opened.

At Fillmore Glen, Seleena Lozepone and Kayla Ingianni of Marcellus walked along the trail, and into the riverbed that would have been the bottom of the swimming area.

“We’re from Marcellus,” Lozepone said. “We just wanted to get out.”

The women had it in mind to see all the waterfalls, but the gorge trail to the cowsheds up the stream was closed. Lozepone had already been to Carpenter Falls in Niles, but maybe they’d head to Ithaca and waterfalls at Buttermilk or at Treman parks. Maybe they’d go to Letchworth Park south of Rochester and the three waterfalls there.

Swimming? Not really their thing, so that the swimming area was closed didn’t bother them, although the permanent bathrooms and pavilion were also closed and people were directed to portable toilets. When Lozepone goes swimming, she prefers Green Lakes State Park in Onondaga County, which is open.

“The Fillmore Glen State Park swimming beach is scheduled to open June 22,” said Dan Keefe, a public information officer for the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “Plans to reopen the campground are being finalized. Details will be available soon.”

However, he said the gorge trail is closed for the season because of erosion.

In Groton, village Clerk/Treasurer Nancy Niswender said the village is preparing the pool to open when the state says it’s OK for pools to open.

“If it’s too late in the year, we won’t open,” she said.

The pool will also only be available to town and village residents, with registration required. There will also be sanitation procedures in place and people must wear a mask when they’re not in the pool.

Greek Peak, which has a water park and operates Hope Lake in Virgil, is also preparing for when it can open.

“We’re scheduled to meet with the town in June to review where everything’s at,” said Wesley Kryger, the president of Greek Peak. “We’re going to comply with the phased openings.”