Visitors should seek alternate parks for swimming and picnicking
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Palisades Interstate Park Commission announced that the Lake Welch Beach and Picnic Grounds in Harriman State Park have been closed until further notice due to a Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) that has affected all of Lake Welch. The Lake’s public boat launch has also been closed until further notice. The closures are necessary to protect public health and safety. Visitors should seek alternate locations for swimming and picnicking during the July 4th weekend and check back with State Parks for updates before planning their next visit to Lake Welch.
The HAB at Lake Welch was first observed on Saturday, June 26 and confirmed the following day. A significant bloom remained visible in the lake on Thursday. Under New York State Department of Health regulations, a swimming beach must be free of any visible signs of a bloom for a day, and a water sample must be submitted for toxin analysis before it can reopen.
Visitors heading to Lake Welch should consider alternate destinations in Harriman State Park or visiting other state parks. A list of options throughout the Hudson Valley and beyond is available at https://parks.ny.gov/parks/. Due to the holiday weekend, many parks may reach capacity early and close to incoming visitors. Visitors should have a plan ready to head to a different park or consider postponing your visit for another day. Download the New York State Parks Explorer App to get capacity alerts and plan outdoor trips. The app is available at no cost for iOS and Android devices. To download, visit:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=gov.ny.its.nysparks or https://apps.apple.com/us/app/ny-state-parks-explorer/id1496803341
Updates on swimming conditions at Lake Welch will be posted on the website https://parks.ny.gov/parks/lakewelch/details.aspx as well as the mobile app.
HABs typically occur in areas with calm water, higher levels of nutrients, and warm weather, but the exact causes of HABs are unknown and can vary greatly. Exposure to algae blooms can cause health effects in people and animals when water with blooms are touched, swallowed, or when airborne droplets are inhaled. Exposure to high levels of algae and their toxins can cause diarrhea, nausea or vomiting; skin, eye or throat irritation; and allergic reactions or breathing difficulties. Recreational exposures can occur while swimming, wading, fishing, or boating in areas with HABs. This is the first known instance of an HAB to affect all of Lake Welch.
State Parks oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which were visited by a record 78 million people last year. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.parks.ny.gov, connect with us on Facebook, or follow on Instagram and Twitter.