Mauch Chunk Lake temporarily restricted for swimming, camping
Carbon County officials have made Mauch Chunk Lake Park’s swimming and camping areas for county residents while the county remains in the yellow phase of reopening.
On Thursday, the board of commissioners approved a resolution that restricts only the swimming and camping areas to county residents, effective until either Carbon County moves to the green phase or June 30, whichever lasts longer.
The swimming area, if all goes well with water testing, will be open as of Saturday, the board said. The announcement on the swimming area will be made on the Carbon County website.
Boat launches A and B and the hiking trails remain open to everyone, regardless of county residency.
Commissioner Chris Lukasevich said that swimming, at this time, will be swim at your own risk, due to only having about three lifeguards on staff. There will, however, be one lifeguard in the lifeguard building with first aid supplies in the event help is needed.
Residents will not be charged to use the beach and swimming area unless lifeguards are scheduled to be in the lifeguard chairs. Camping areas will be charged the current rates. Pavilions will not be rented out at this time.
Lukasevich, who has spearheaded the conversations about the park in recent weeks, said that there are restrictions on the capacity of swimming throughout Carbon County this year and noted that this resolution provides an opportunity for county residents to be able to enjoy the outdoors in a safe manner.
Plans will be fluid and at the discretion of the park director as he sees how the situation plays out each day at the park and what resources he has available to safely operate the park for county residents and employees.
Lukasevich said that discussions have taken place with both Jim Thorpe and Summit Hill boroughs, as well as the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and both boroughs will provide services as necessary as has been in the past.
The county sheriff’s department will also provide services to assist the park director in this operation.
To utilize the park, residents will need to show either a driver’s license or ID card with your home address on it or a utility bill that has your residency on it.
Last year, for the month of June, Carbon County took in approximately $66,000 in revenue at the park.
“At the end of the day, the safety and health of the residents of Carbon County, outweighs the small amount of revenue,” Lukasevich said.
Mauch Chunk Lake Park was constructed in 1969 at a cost of $3 million and opened for recreational activities in 1974.
It has grown in popularity over the decades and has become a summer destination for non-county residents, but the COVID-19 pandemic period “has increased stress and anxiety on county residents,” the resolution states.
Because of this, the “board of commissioners assess that the increase psychological and physical benefits of restricting park use outweighs potential loss of revenue.”