POTSDAM - Summer 2014 is in full swing across St. Lawrence County, and recreation department officials are noticing the influx of visitors to their beaches.
Although the sizzling temperatures this week may be just marking the beginning of summer vacation, the Massena and Potsdam beaches are becoming a popular destination so far this season.
“For both of our beaches I think it has been pretty good. It seems like we have done very well for the first two weeks that we have been open,” Potsdam Recreation Director Timothy W. Carey said. “This is the first week of swim lessons and from what I’ve been hearing, the numbers have been pretty good.”
The Potsdam Recreation Department is responsible for running both the Pine Street beach and Postwood Park location in Hannawa Falls.
Both venues opened for the season on June 14 with a scheduled closing date of Aug. 24.
Operating hours for both Pine Street and Postwood Park are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days per week.
“Most of the (swim) lessons are done at Postwood Park,” Mr. Carey said. “We usually get between 200 and 250 kids for swim lessons. They run in the morning at Postwood at 10 a.m.”
Mr. Carey added that there are various factors that determine which parts of the summer are more jam packed with visitors than others.
“It is all weather dependent obviously. It has definitely picked up the last couple of days with the heat. Also, with the kids out of school now, that has picked up. But there is no set time usually,” he said. “(July and August) is usually pretty similar. The total might be a little different since we close a little early in August, but the daily averages are about the same.”
Massena Recreation Superintendent Richard A. Boprey has also seen an increase in people coming to the beach recently.
“Despite what rain we’ve had, we’ve had good pavilion rentings and have been very busy,” he said.
“The summer rec program actually started on Monday, and we have had at least 60 kids with that. The weekends have been full and all of our pavilions have been rented out,” Administrative Assistant Nikki Debien added.
Like in Potsdam, the Massena Town Beach officially opened on June 14, but did not start operating daily until June 25. The beach will close for the season on Sept. 1.
The beach front opens at 11:30 a.m. and closes 8 p.m.
“Last year the numbers weren’t that great due to the weather but this summer we are hoping for a better season,” Ms. Debien said.
Beach visitors in Massena said they were happy that summer is here at long last.
“We like to barbecue and spend most of the day at the beach,” Donna Spencer said. “I come here every summer but this is the first time so far this year. I’d say we come at least four or five times per summer.”
“We just started a community beach volleyball (league) just for something to do,” Madeline Thibault said. “We come just about every Wednesday. We come at 1 and end around 5:30, and it’s just something to do.”
Ms. Thibault said that while volleyball is the main priority for the group at the beach, she finds plenty of other activities enjoyable.
“I like going to the beach with people a lot. Tanning and swimming are pretty much the top things to do here,” she said.