Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Porter County tourism office tells open and closed beaches

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Five beaches remain open in Porter County, but four have been closed due to lifeguard shortages and erosion issues, the Porter County Convention, Recreation, and Visitor Commission is reporting.

A shortage of lifeguards has forced Indiana Dunes State Park to close its beach to swimming until at least the end of August. The beach remains open for shoreline activities but no swimming or wading is allowed.

Beaches closed due to erosion, all of them in Indiana Dunes National Park: Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk; and in Beverly Shores, Lakeview Beach and Picnic Area and Central Ave. Beach.

West Beach remains open but will have limited lifeguard coverage for the remainder of the swimming season. Also open but always unguarded: Porter Beach, Kemil Beach, Dunbar Beach, and Mt. Baldy Beach. At all of these, beachgoers swim at their own risk.

Park officials recommend that visitors check for weather warnings online and be on the lookout for warning signs on the beaches indicating unsafe swimming conditions like high waves or rip currents. Rip currents are dangerous and can overpower even the strongest swimmers. “If you are caught in a rip current, it is crucial that you swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current’s pull,” the PCCRVC said.

“Many people forget that Lake Michigan can have the same force as the ocean,” said Dustin Ritchea, production director for the PCCRVC. “It’s imperative that safety guidelines be followed at all times when swimming, especially at your own risk.”

Indiana Dunes State Park and Indiana Dunes National Park have both seen larger than usual crowds during the COVID-19 pandemic, and smaller beach parking lots can fill quickly and early. West Beach has by far the largest parking lot at the National Park, but even that lot can fill up on crowded days.

Visitors before arriving are encouraged to call the beach parking lot hotline at (219) 395-1003 for regular bulletins on parking availability.

“We’d like to remind people to wear a mask and practice social-distancing while enjoying the beaches and other areas in the park, so that we can keep the parks open for residents and visitors to enjoy safely and responsibly," said Michelle Senderhauf, communications director for the PCCRVC.

 

 

Posted 8/28/2020

 
 
 
 

 

 

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