Lake Minnewaska and surrounding areas as they are now.


Post by cc »

Does anyone exactly know what will happen to you if you are caught swimming where you are not supposed to be? Are you kicked out right away, is there a fine etc...etc? I am a very good swimmer but don't have the time or patience to go out and take a swimming test so I can swim on the other side of Lake M. The public beach at Lake M is always too crowded and just not obsolete enough for me. I kind of like to swim where no one is around, just peace and quiet. I love Lake Awosting and the beach there is nice, but during off season the lifeguards are not there and there are still lots of days when it is still hot enough to go swimming but you are not suppossed to. I am a mature adult not looking to get into trouble or cause any. Would love to be able to swim accross Lake Awosting but can only do that in the Trialathon and I am not good enough in the running and biking events to make it worth entering. Maybe one of the Park Rangers can answer this if they are reading it. Also what about Mud Pond? I have been out there a few times, but not swam in it. I know you are not allowed to swim there either, but does anyone know if it swimmable? Is it loaded with mud for instance? How deep is it? So once again--Does anyone exactly know what will happen to you if you are caught swimming where you are not supposed to be? Are you kicked out right away, is there a fine etc...etc? Thank you very much.
Posts: 43
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Location: Marlboro, NY

Re: Swimming

Post by Ridge70 »

Who would ever consider swimming in the illegal areas!? Haha ;o)

Forgive my long, drawn out story....

I can't agree with you more. And I think a LOT of other people will agree. If I'm not mistaken, there have been coalitions in the past to get the park to open up swimming in other areas of the lakes or just let people swim anywhere. But it's a huge liability if that happens. Believe it or not, you use to be able to jump off the cliffs into the water (duh!) when it was privately owned. I think this is primarily the area near the public beach at Minnewaska as I don't see any other areas there where you could jump off a rock without landing on another rock!

Am not really sure why they don't open or move the swimming area at Minnewaska to the southern end of the lake where there's a lot more room. They would have to reroute the carriage road further back too. When I first started going there about 10 years ago, there was no way I was going to hang out at that crowded beach. Sorry! There's no room to swim either. I'll never forget going there with a friend of mine back then. We decided to hang out in this cove right next to the beach. I went in a few times but then was caught by a ranger and told to stay out. Well, I was feeling rebellious and stupid and went back in not soon after, when I thought it would be safe. Needless to say, we were asked to leave the park. Not surprising.

I then decided to start hanging out further down the lake in another cove that is accessed by a point near the little wooden bridge walkway if you were heading to the open meadow area (where the old hotel used to be). Problem is, there really is no flat area there and you have to kinda scramble through the trees and rocks. But I used to only hang for a little while to just take a dip. It was out of the beach's view unless you swam further out. So, it worked. But still felt uneasy and cautious because you never know who was watching or occassionally would be canoeing down the lake.

Then, i finally started venturing out to Lake Awosting. Ahh. Lake Awosting. So much better. And that's an understatement. Much more peaceful and quiet. Less traffic. For the more serious enthusiasts! Am getting verklempt about it now as I will be needing to get there very soon. Anyway, I digress. Once I started going there, I breezed right past Minnewaska. Don't get me wrong, Minnewaska is nice, especially with the cliffs. But, it's too commercial and crowded. Anyway, yes, the beach at Awosting is so much bigger and nicer. But, needing to be away from crowds, I always choose to hang out in any of the smaller areas to the south of there. The "peninsula," as I call it, is a pretty popular spot. But you will find people hanging anywhere there's a decent open spot. I have my own spot whose location shall remain undisclosed! ;o)

So, I've digressed...To answer your question. Wait, what is the question? Ahh, yes, I remember. Ok, most likely, you will just be verbally warned to get out of the water. I was caught maybe twice at Awosting. I wasn't in the water but it was soon after being in the water. I remember once being asked to leave the Lake Awosting area. Not the park, though. It was after Labor Day but was still a hot day in September. That could've been why they were so strict ( post-season and no lifeguards ) I told the ranger I would not go in again and to please let me just stay at my spot. But, she didn't back down. So, it really depends on the ranger I guess. I have never heard of any fine, per se. I recall a situation last year where I wasn't in the water, nor had been in the water. I was sunning myself and a ranger came by and stopped and warned me that if I went in the water I would be ticketed. He wasn't very pleasant about it. I started to say, "but I haven't been in the water" and he just took off. I think he was on his way to reprimand some other people that had been in the water further down the lake. Give me a break and lighten up already.

The whole thing is really silly. Like yourself, I am an adult and don't make noise there or cause any problems. I have volunteered in trail maintenance there and respect the land. I don't spend great amounts of time actually in the water. I usually go in to cool off and am out in about 5 minutes. But I may do this several times a day when I go. I know how to swim. I also don't go that far out. Let me tell you, there are LOTS of people that swim in the nonswimming areas. I think the park knows it too but there's only so much they can do.

So, here are a few pointers to not getting caught swimming in the illegal areas. First off, do NOT jump in the water and make splashes and a lot of noise about it. I get so mad when people do this. You are calling attention to yourself. The lifeguard at the main beach will hear and they will send someone out to patrol. Second, try to not go out that far into the water. I know it's tempting but you WILL be seen in the middle of the lake! Third, if you hear a motorized vehicle, it's most likely a ranger driving around. Also, occasionally the lifeguards will canoe around the lake. So, I guess the main thing to remember is just keep your eyes and ears open.

As far as Mud Pond. Eek. I don't know about swimming in there. It doesn't look that inviting to me. Also, there's really no great access to it. It's not that deep. I've heard only about 4'. Yeah, you could definately get away with swimming there. Report back to us if you decide to do it.

If they were smart, they would allow swimming in the other accessible areas at Awosting and maybe have another lifeguard monitor these areas. But then again, maybe those areas would get more crowded. I just don't understand that you can't swim unless it's in the monitored area (beach) but you can walk any of the trails and fall off the cliff. Doesn't make sense to me.

Anyway, good luck and enjoy!!!!
not a user

Re: Swimming

Post by not a user »

I would go swimming. Look out for snakes. Splash with discretion. If you see a ranger don't stand in the water and stare at them or flap around some more. Get out of the water, create the illusion that you are abiding by the rules (b/c we probably are 99% of the time), and treat them like humans. They'll tell you you are supposed to swim at the beach, give you a wink and be on their way. And don't forget to take all your garbage with you!

Re: Swimming

Post by 802guy »

used to go there YEARS ago. cliff diving was great. My daughter went to NP SUNY. We went back to show her the lake. What a let down. YOU CAN'T do any thing there anymore! They have turned it into a museum, look but don't touch.
new to site

Re: Swimming

Post by new to site »

Just take the swim test and swim wherever you want!

Re: Swimming

Post by Guest »

Most people aren't able to take the swim test.
Former Jumper

Re: Swimming

Post by Former Jumper »

For the safety of yourself and others, follow the rules. Enjoy the beauty that God created and left for us to wonder about. Breathe in the beautiful clean fresh brisk air and let the beauty surround you. i will agree that you used to be able to jump off cliffs and swim where you wanted, I have the scars to prove it. i have never swam at the beach. But once the new rules went into effect, I respect them and abide by them. These hard working men and woman, who take care of this beauty round the clock throughout the year, love this precious space as much as you and I. Respecting the rules and abiding by them gives them the support they need to continue to keep this wonderous place open to the public, so that others can enjoy its grandeur, for many more generations to come.

The grandeur of the Gunks is all around us here to share with those that don't look out the back window and see them soaring. This is a sacred place. Keep it safe and keep it clean. Leave only your footprints....take only your photographs and your memories....and don't forget...praise God for all that is beautiful.
Old Girl Scout
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:56 pm

Re: Swimming

Post by Old Girl Scout »

If you can manage to take a drivers test you can manage to take a swim test.
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