• 68°

Pools closed, jump in a lake

The Town of Farmville and Fuqua School pools may be closed this summer, but notable swimming opportunities still exist at three state parks in the area that have beaches — Bear Creek Lake, Twin Lakes and Holliday Lake.

“All Virginia State Parks that have beaches are open for swimming,” Bear Creek Lake State Park Manager Joey Dayton said. “The parks that have a pool, those pools will not open this season, mainly due to budget and the cost of startup and everything.”

He noted Bear Creek Lake is open from 8 a.m. until dusk. Twin Lakes and Holliday Lake are open from dawn until dusk.

In terms of the beaches, Dayton said those three parks will not have life guards this season.

“There are some other parks in the state that do have guards, but Twin Lakes, Holliday and us are unguarded, so there’s no swimming fees,” he said. “You only pay the $5 parking fee for vehicles to get in.

“We do have beach attendants that primarily are running our boat house, and they also keep an eye on the beach, but they’re not guards,” he added. “And if need be, they are speaking to people about social distancing. However, we haven’t had any issues with that at all.”

He also noted that all three parks referenced offer boat rentals.

Managers from all three parks also reported excellent attendance at their beaches so far this summer.

Dayton said the turnout at Bear Creek has been unprecedented in his time there.

“We are seeing very large crowds on the weekends and holidays, and we encourage people to get here early, because we have had to close the parks due to capacity issues, which is new,” he said. “I’ve been here for 13 years, and we’ve never had to close due to capacity issues, and we’ve closed twice so far this season.”

He said the closure has not been specifically related to COVID-19 restrictions.

“Our beach is large enough that we have not had to close due to that,” he said. “We closed due to parking and overall attendance, which is not really related to any COVID capacity reductions.”

He said that if people aim to arrive before 11 a.m., they should be able to get inside the park, but that was not necessarily a guarantee.