Cheraw State Park was a flurry of activity over the Memorial Day weekend.
There were swimmers at “the beach” for the first time in 10 years, there were campers at every site, there were people in kayaks and canoes, there were bus loads of school children on field trips, family reunions, picnics and a lakeside concert that saw more than 250 people in attendance.
According to Mark Davies, park manager, “There has been an average of 75 to 100 people in the swimming area every day since it opened last Friday.”
“We are extremely pleased,” said Davies, adding there is still a lot of work to do.
In order to bring the swimming area back up to par, park rangers recently hauled in 192 tons of sand to the beach area, creating a fresh look, along with a roped off area in the water. The deepest water available for swimming is just under five feet. There is no lifeguard on duty and swimming is “at your own risk.”
Swimmers can enjoy the water anytime between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., any day of the week, absolutely free of charge. Many local residents, who grew up swimming at the park, returned to bring their children or grandchildren.
Some visitors this weekend came from as far away as Pennsylvania. One visitor, Berthalette Alan, originally from Canada, described the park as “a lovely place.” He and his family, now residents of Pine Hurst, N.C., spent the weekend camping, boating, swimming and hiking.
When asked about the state park’s swimming area, he said, “I can’t imagine coming out here and not jumping in the water. It’s great!”
— Staff Writer Karen Kissiah can be reached by calling 843-537-5261, ext. 224, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.