Senator introduces bill to ease parents’ concerns at state lakes and beaches

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HARRISBURG, Pa.-- Memorial Day marks the unofficial start to summer and as local residents travel to state park beaches, they'll notice there are no lifeguards on duty.

In 2008, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources eliminated lifeguards at most state park beaches and lakes throughout the commonwealth as a cost saving measure.

Sen. Rob Teplitz (D-Dauphin/Perry) is introducing a bill that would reinstate lifeguards at state park beaches and lakes. "If the state any time invites the public onto state property, we need to take care and make sure folks are safe, particularly kids swimming in natural bodies of water that are murky and dark," Teplitz said.

Maria Gonzalez brought her children to swim in Gifford Pinchot Park in Lewisberry, York County. "As a parent, it's our responsibility to keep an eye on our children but at the same time, not all parents are qualified in safety," she said.

At least a handful of people have drowned since lifeguards were removed in 2008. "For the safety of my kids, my little one doesn't know how to swim and I'm panicking even him being in the water without a lifeguard, it's scary," Gonzalez said.

Sen. Teplitz said he hopes to see the bill passed before this time next year. The bill is currently in the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.