State Park Crowding Concerns During Hot Weather

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- The heat is on, and folks are heading to state parks in our area--including Beltzville State Park in Carbon County--to cool down.

"Having a picnic and having a good time and beating the heat with the lake water, obviously," said Candice Carr from Bethlehem.

It's not just the water that brings people to state parks to cool off.

"The temperatures are a lot cooler in the woods, so going out and hiking a nice cool trail would be a good thing, too," said Beltzville State Park manager Alma Holmes.

However, Beltzville State Park often reaches maximum capacity.

"Now that it's warming up, we have a lot of people coming in to the park. We're expecting a lot more people coming in," added Holmes.

The park manager tells Newswatch 16 the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is hoping to fix crowding issues at Beltzville State Park. She says once the parking lots fill up, the park has to close its gates. Folks looking to cool down during the heat wave and upcoming holiday may have to go elsewhere.

"Once the overflow fills, we close the gates. [If you're] coming out to the park, you want to get here early," explained Holmes.

Park officials say the DCNR will bring in researchers from Penn State to see if there are better ways to handle the park's popularity.

Folks searching through a sea of cars in the parking lot say it's always crowded here.

"Well normally I like to park way over there, and now I'm way back here. So yeah, it is pretty packed today," said Sharon Rinehart of Gilbert.

Some work together to overcome the crowds.

"My mother-in-law and my father-in-law got here real early, got a table, got some beach space," said Colin Ackerman of Allentown.

"We just try to get here a little bit early and make the day of it, and if it starts getting crowded, we just like start to leave," added Bill Tillman of Forks Township.

A full list of state parks in our area can be found here.