Nearly 200 Residents Walk in Support of Crystal Lake 'Swim at Your Own Risk'

The Open Crystal Lake event was held Sun., April 15.

Despite a bit of rainy weather, nearly 200 residents showed up to . 

According to a press release issued by Open Crystal Lake, Sunday's "Let's Make a Splash" event included a walk around the lake as well as a rally at Cronin's Cove. Residents also crafted homemade signs and sang along to "This Lake is Your Lake" (to the tune of "This Land is Your Land").

The group argues that the current area at Crystal Lake allowed for swimming, combined with the restricted time that area is open, "does not meet the needs of swimmers." 

In the press release, Open Crystal Lake continued to underline its mission:

Supporters left feeling energized by the unexpectedly large turnout and optimistic that those responsible for the governance of Crystal lake are coming to the realization that they now have to find a reasonable solution to an unreasonable status quo, in which excessive police resources are expended in a fruitless effort to keep swimmers out of the lake.

Currently, swimming at Crystal Lake is restricted to a roped-off area near the intersection of Rogers Street and Lake Avenue. That area is open from mid-June to mid-August and is staffed with a lifeguard. Neighbors abutting the lake are also allowed to swim in areas next to their property. 

But swimming in other sections of the lake, including the popular Cronin's Cove, is prohibited. 

The Open Crystal Lake group developed a swim at your own risk proposal for Crystal Lake and presented it to the Parks & Recreation Commission in February. According to that proposal, the group is requesting swimming be permitted in Cronin's Cove and Levingston Cove from May 1 to October 31 for unsupervised swimmers age 16 and older. (Those under 16 should be accompanied by a parent).

Following the swim at your own risk presentation to the Parks & Recreation Commission, a subcommittee was formed to look at developing an ordinance for civil fines at the lake, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Bob DeRubeis told Patch earlier this month.

DeRubeis said the committee believes a civil fine ordinance must be worked out before a swim at your own risk policy is considered.

Irene Katz April 18, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Sarah, I was at the walk on Sunday. The problem with the open public beach is that it SUCKS! Last time I was there, I said to myself - NEVER AGAIN! It was a very unpleasant experience, from getting rudely yelled at by the high school age lifeguards for taking a step in the wrong direction to getting kicked in the face TWICE while swimming because there were so many people and the area that is roped off is so unreasonably small. I don't mind paying money, but not for this type of experience - no, thanks! At the Cronin's Cove I come, I go for a brief swim, and half an hour later I'm ready to go home - no peeing in the bushes! Why should people who happen to live next to the lake be the only ones who can enjoy a nice swim? What about the rest of us Newton residents???? Develop a nice public beach, make sure everyone can enjoy themselves, start treating adults like adults by letting us swim further away, maybe then you won't need to open up the Cronin's Cove.
Karen Bray April 18, 2012 at 06:39 PM
I suggest that Sarah B. ask Newton residents what they do before making such inappropriate and unkind comments directed toward 85,000 people. I buy a bath house pass every Summer regardless of whether or not I swim at Cronin's Cove, because I am very grateful for the lifeguarded area: It is a great resource for Newton..It is where my children learned to swim. But, now, as an adult without small children, I have the right to swim at 6 am or 6 pm for a workout. It is very crowded at the bath house and great for families with young children but not for adults.
Melanie Graham April 18, 2012 at 06:49 PM
FYI I've added a .pdf copy of the Open Crystal Lake presentation to the media section above.
Sarah B April 19, 2012 at 03:11 PM
I have read the open crystal lake proposal and I stand by my comments. Why not put your energy into making the public area even better? Besides that, in the summer there are a lot of people who are NOT Newton residents swimming illegally. They come from Brighton and other surrounding areas. I am glad to hear that the people who commented aren't peeing in bushes--but I live near Crystal Lake and during the summer I see grown men and children, and they most certainly ARE peeing in the bushes. I say spoiled because you want what you want, and aren't considering your neighbors or the environment. There is a public area, and perhaps that needs to be extended to a larger area and looked at more carefully, but asking that Crystal Lake be thrown open to everyone and anyone isn't the correct decision either.
Gregg Tong April 19, 2012 at 03:20 PM
I know the people behind this initiative have good intentions and probably won't perpetuate the negative environmental impact. HOWEVER, the low common denominator of who will take advantage of a changed policy are the type that you can not trust to be responsible. Unfortunate reality of today's society. It's very nice to HOPE that people will act appropriately if given this privilege, but my experience is that is a foolish assumption.


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