Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

July 01, 2015

Randy Simons
Dan Keefe

Selkirk Shores State Park to Open for Swimming Summer Weekends

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) today announced a pilot program to reintroduce swimming at Selkirk Shores State Park in Pulaski on Saturdays and Sundays beginning July 4 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

"We are very excited that visitors to Selkirk Shores State Park will again have the opportunity to swim in Lake Ontario," State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said. "Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, State Parks is determined to find new, creative ways to provide New Yorkers with better access to the great outdoors. We are hopeful this pilot program will lead to a permanent return of the swimming beach at Selkirk Shores State Park."

"The beaches, streams, rivers and lakes that dot Central New York are more than just places where people go to enjoy themselves, they're economic engines drawing tourists to our region, creating jobs and boosting local economies," said State Senator Patty Ritchie. "With families preparing to pack up and get outdoors for the July 4th holiday weekend, the reopening of the swimming beach at Selkirk Shores could not have come at a better time. I'd like to thank the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for recognizing the need to reopen the swimming beach and look forward to welcoming visitors to Central New York as the summer continues."

"It's been several years that swimming has been closed at Selkirk Shores and I'm happy that Parks has come up with a solution to, once again, allow swimming at the beach," said Assemblyman Will Barclay. "I applaud the local Parks leadership for making this announcement possible today. This addition will complement the improvements made recently at Selkirk Shores. It'll be great for the local community as well as for summer tourism."

Due to recurring poor water quality and clarity tests, the Selkirk Shores swimming beach often closed temporarily to protect the health and safety of visitors. Water quality typically falls below established state Health Department standards immediately after heavy rainstorms wash bacteria from sources such as agricultural waste and outdated sewage systems into the lake. The beach closed in 2010 and remained closed due to ongoing beach erosion, water quality issues and safety issues on the aging pier structure. After careful analysis of the park's geography and watershed, State Parks developed a plan to reintroduce swimming by relocating the swimming beach to the south of the pier, where preliminary tests show water quality and clarity recovers faster. Watershed monitoring will continue, and State Parks will work with county, state and federal partners to find lasting solutions to water quality issues. The Selkirk Shore beach may still be subject to temporary closures this season as water and lake conditions change.

During the week, visitors staying at the Selkirk Shores campground may swim free of charge at nearby Sandy Island Beach State Park in Pulaski, where the swimming beach is open daily, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.

In addition to spectacular sunsets over one of the Great Lakes, visitors to Selkirk Shores State Park can expect outstanding fishing and popular hiking and biking trails that lead to a lush mix of meadows and woodlands. The park is directly in the migration route for a wide variety of bird species. Campsites are available directly overlooking a bluff on Lake Ontario.

Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York State is making a historic commitment to improving and expanding access to outdoor recreation. The Governor's NY Parks 2020 program is a multi-year commitment to leverage $900 million in private and public funding for State Parks from 2011 to 2020. The Governor's 2015-16 Executive Budget allocates $110 million toward this initiative.

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 180 state parks and 35 historic sites, which are visited by 62 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit, connect on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.