05/26/06 — Cliffs of Neuse swimming will open this week

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Cliffs of Neuse swimming will open this week

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on May 26, 2006 1:49 PM

The Cliffs of the Neuse swimming area will open Saturday, but there won't be any diving until there is more water, park officials said.

The water is still too shallow in the deep end for any diving, Park Ranger Dan Smith said.

He said he likes to have the depth at least 17 feet before he allows diving, and it's only 15 now.

Cliffs Of Neuse

News-Argus/Bobby Williams

Park Ranger Carla Edwards takes a look at the water levels at Cliffs of the Neuse state park.

The water is continuing to rise in the 11-acre man-made lake, and as soon as it's deep enough to dive and rent boats, Smith said he will make an announcement. The Cliffs park has row boats and some new paddle boats standing by for the official go-ahead.

"We'll open boat rentals when we feel it's safe to do so," Smith said.

Meanwhile, swimming will resume at the normal schedule for Memorial Day weekend, which is the traditional opening date. Hours will be from 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.

Swimming will continue through Labor Day.

Swimming is normally permitted only when lifeguards are on duty, but Smith said he has been having trouble finding certified lifeguards to watch the swimmers. He said state officials are thinking about letting him allow people to "swim at your own risk" until he gets some lifeguards on board.

"This is day-by-day," he said. "We are still looking for additional qualified lifeguards, but none have been approved yet. Several applicants are waiting on their certification."

He said the state parks officials are also thinking about letting him reduce the admission fee for swimming until the lake is fully operational. When diving and boating are back on the approved list, the fee would return to $4 per adult and $3 for children ages 3 through 12.