Enjoy a refreshing swim in one of Missouri’s state park designated swimming beaches this Labor Day weekend before the summer recreational season comes to an end.
There are 15 designated swim beaches located within 12 state parks across the state that will be open for the public to enjoy during the upcoming holiday weekend. However, Cuivre River, Lake of the Ozarks, Mark Twain, Thousand Hills, Harry S Truman, Wakonda and Watkins Mill state parks will officially close their designated swimming beaches on Sept. 4 when the recreational season ends. For additional information on their locations and hours of operation, visit mostateparks.com.
Watkins Mill State Park and Lake of the Ozarks State Park’s Grand Glaize swimming beaches are closed due to water quality issues. Results received today showed continued water quality issues at Watkins Mill State Park beach. Watkins Mill State Park was originally scheduled to close for the recreational season after the Labor Day holiday weekend. Therefore no additional water samples will be collected from the beach and it will remain closed for the season.
Staff at Lake of the Ozarks State Park closed Grand Glaize Beach today when results showed that one of the two water samples taken at the beach failed to meet Missouri State Parks standards. Grand Glaize Beach will reopen when subsequent sample results show the water has returned to Missouri State Parks and Department of Natural Resources standards. Samples will be taken again on Monday. Public Beach #1 at Lake of the Ozarks State Park remains open.
The water at all designated beaches in the state park system is sampled weekly during the recreational season by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to determine suitability for swimming. Water quality can be determined to be unsuitable for swimming based on either the single sample taken earlier in the week, or by the geometric mean, which is a mathematical value that takes into consideration results from the current week plus the results taken during the previous weeks. Both beaches closed this week had single samples in excess of the standard. The beach at Watkins Mill State Park also exceeds the geometric mean, which is a mathematical value that takes into consideration results from the current week plus the results taken during the previous weeks.
Higher bacteria levels are often associated with heavy rains that result in runoff from adjacent lands. However, there are a number of possibilities that can contribute to higher bacteria, and chances are no single source is the cause. The sample test results indicate a snap shot of the water quality taken at the beaches at a specific time; however, a single sample does not provide an overall sense of the water quality in the lake where the beach is located.
The beaches at two parks, Lewis and Clark State Park in Buchanan County and Trail of Tears State Park, Cape Girardeau County, remain closed for maintenance unrelated to water quality. Visit mostateparks.com for additional information.
Visitors to Missouri State Parks are able to sign up to receive free electronic notices about the status of state park beaches by visiting the department’s website at http://bit.ly/HlSnaG. In addition, visitors may continue to check the state park beach status on the department’s website at http://bit.ly/MoStateParksBeachStatus as well as mostateparks.com.
Missouri’s state parks and historic sites offer something to suit everyone’s taste – outdoor adventure, great scenery and a bit of history. With Missouri’s 86 state parks and historic sites, the possibilities are boundless. For more information about Missouri State Parks, a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, visit mostateparks.com.
Image courtesy Missouri DNR