Swimming holes look good when lake beaches close but they come with risks

Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 3:54 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Vt. (WCAX) - When it’s hot and Lake Champlain’s beaches are closed due to cyanobacteria, some people head to swimming holes to cool off. And while they may be beautiful, they can come with their own risks.

Sunny skies, temperatures in the 80s: perfect beach weather. Unless the beaches are closed.

“Kind of sucked because I was looking forward to go swimming and seeing what Lake Champlain is all about,” vacationer Dominique Ross said.

Closed beaches in Burlington disappointed this vacationer.

But locals know what to do when algae blooms.

Swimming holes like the Huntington Gorge draw swimmers who want to beat the heat and the crowds.

“Had some not-so-great experiences with the lake in the past, so kind of avoiding the lake this summer. But I like it here a lot better, it’s just quieter,” said Maddie Smith of Burlington.

“It’s a beautiful drive here and it’s also quiet. It’s not as much of a hotspot than Lake Champlain is, so I think I prefer to come here,” said Adi Konforty of Burlington.

“I have heard of Lake Champlain being super-polluted and I see all over the news the cyanobacteria and other outbreaks, just makes me a little uneasy to go into the water,” Smith said.

Swimming holes come with their own risks. There are no lifeguards and hazards like strong currents and rocks hidden are below the surface.

At least two dozen people have died at the Huntington Gorge over the years.

So it’s always wise to know your surroundings and use caution before using any swimming hole.

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