In a classic example of very poor timing, albeit no fault of government or anyone else, one popular spot to cool down on hot summer days is temporarily out of commission just as the Southern Tier swelters.

The Broome County Department of Parks, Recreation and Youth Services July 19 announced Dorchester Park beaches on the Whitney Point Reservoir are closed due to an environmental health issue that is not uncommon to area waterways, algae bloom.

Dorchester Park
Credit: James Kelly

The release passed on by Broome County Executive Jason Garnar's (D-Port Dickinson) office reads:

Beaches at Dorchester Park Temporarily Closed

(WHITNEY POINT, NY) The Broome County Department of Parks, Recreation and Youth Services has closed the Dorchester Park Beach due to an algae bloom.

The Parks Department made this decision Tuesday as a protective measure. The public will be notified when the waterfront has been reopened.

Beaches at Nathaniel Cole Park and Greenwood Park remain open.

Looking back to news reports over the past couple years, the problem closed the park a few times in the summer of 2020 as families were looking for ways to escape the house during the spring lockdown from the initial throws of the COVID-19 pandemic.  After repeated tests of the water quality following each algae bloom incident, the beaches were allowed to reopen.

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The problem was not exclusive to the northern Broome County recreational spot, however. The next year, in June of 2021, the beach at Greenwood Park was closed for the same problem.

Some algae blooms can use up oxygen in the water and produce toxins that can kill fish, causing health concerns especially if the water is ingested. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says health issues from swallowing water in an algae bloom include rash, respiratory irritation and intestinal problems in people and pets.

Again, the closing of the beach at Dorchester Park is a precautionary measure and the public will be informed when tests of the water quality allow the beach to reopen.

Broome County just weeks ago unveiled a new accessible boat launch and playground at Dorchester Park.

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