ST. PAUL - With temperatures continuing to hover near 30 degrees Celsius, local lakes have been a popular hangout for residents and visitors looking to enjoy the beach and water. But, the County of St. Paul is having to ask visitors to be mindful at local parks, specifically when they pack up and leave.
Tim Mahdiuk, director of community services with the County of St. Paul, says there have been instances where popular beach areas have been left with trash and other debris, resulting in a heavier workload for caretakers during what is proving to be a very busy season.
When speaking to just how busy county-run parks have been, Mahdiuk says one day specifically saw about 200 people on the beach at one time at the Floating Stone Lake campground.
"I've never seen this before," says Mahdiuk, speaking to high attendance rates at all the parks.
Garbage has been an issue at multiple day-use areas throughout the County, Mahdiuk is simply hoping people will be mindful when enjoying a day at the beach.
"They have to use respect."
He notes that if someone runs into any issues, or needs direction, park caretakers are available to help out.
Another issue that has arisen with the unprecedented use of the parks this summer is challenges around parking. Mahdiuk admits that the municipal parks were not designed to handle the type of traffic that has been seen.
"Our parks weren't designed to have these big, large parking lots."
Sometimes, day-use beachgoers will have to park a significant distance away. But, he asks that visitors remain patient.
As for those who are hoping to pull out their RV and spend an extended period of time at one of the County-run campgrounds this summer, Mahdiuk says it could be a challenge to get a reservation at this point. Most of the parks are already fully booked, which includes week-day availability. The only park that likely has some availability is Westcove, which is located at Vincent Lake, north of St. Paul.
All bookings are done online through campreservations.ca
When asked if the increased usage at the campgrounds has had any implications to the municipality in a financial sense, Mahdiuk says the County has not spent any extra funds, but it did restructure its maintenance crew in order to keep up and provide extra support at the parks.
People visiting the parks for day use are asked to abide by the hours posted, which is generally from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mahdiuk recommends people be off the beaches by 9 p.m. to allow for caretakers to do their jobs.
He also would like to remind people that the municipality isn't responsible for any incidents that occur on the water, as that is provincial jurisdiction.
The county operates municipal campgrounds at Lac Bellevue, Floating Stone Lake, Stoney Lake, and Westcove (Vincent Lake).