BELTZVILLE STATE PARK — There is no swimming on this hot day at Beltzville State Park in Carbon County.
High bacteria tests are to blame for closing the beach just before the Fourth of July.
But now we found the park is trying something new to help keep the water clean: the beach has been taken over by dogs, sort of.
The swimming area is empty at one of the most popular state parks in the state on one of the hottest days of the year.
It’s closed after routine water testing at Beltzville State Park showed high bacteria levels for the third time this season.
“We were extremely upset. My kids were crying and now they really want to go swimming. Now we have to find an alternative,” said Josh Kubiak of Hellertown.
In all the heat, Kubiak had to turn around and head home. He saw the flashing “no swimming” sign as he drove in.
“This is the first time we’ve ever come out here and it was like this, but I’ve heard about this in the past.”
Bacteria in the water has been an issue here for years, but there is something new on the beach at Beltzville: dogs.
Not real dogs but cutouts all along the water and they’re there because of geese. Park officials believe what they leave behind is part of the bacteria problem.
Workers made the dog cutouts in the last few weeks hoping to do something to scare away the geese. They’re not on the beach, but they’re not far away.
“It doesn’t work, they’re on to that. They need real German shepherds.”
Park officials say crowds of people also help cause the bacteria issues.
But whatever causes it all, those showing up couldn’t cool off.
“It’s a perfect day for swim, but I guess we’re not going to swim today.”
“Disappointed, we were going to spend all day here. We didn’t know why it was closed,” said Etsuko Kizawaik.
Kizawai and her son are vacationing this week in the area from New York City. They hope the dogs help, anything that can get the water cleaner by the holiday weekend.
“Hopefully everything is OK and we can take a dip before we leave.”
Beltzville State Park is usually jammed on the Fourth of July. Park staff say they know that and will continue testing the water and reopen it as soon as bacteria levels are safe.