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Your favorite way to jump into Long Lake is going away, city says

A major change is coming to Lacey’s Long Lake Park this summer

Citing safety concerns Lacey Park and Recreation Director Jennifer Burbidge outlines the city's plans to remove the swimming dock at Long Lake Park and relocate it to Longs Pond l at Woodland Creek Community Park.
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Citing safety concerns Lacey Park and Recreation Director Jennifer Burbidge outlines the city's plans to remove the swimming dock at Long Lake Park and relocate it to Longs Pond l at Woodland Creek Community Park.

Because of safety concerns, the city of Lacey plans to remove the dock at Long Lake Park in April or early May, the city’s parks and recreation director said Monday.

That means no more jumping off the dock in summer and no more jumping into frigid water for the annual Polar Bear plunge. Everyone will now enter the water from the shore.

“We still have a fantastic swimming area,” parks director Jennifer Burbidge said Monday, adding that the small craft launch area, for kayaks and paddleboards, will remain unchanged.

The reasons for removing the dock are stark: Over the past six summers, there have been 46 lifeguard-related rescues at the park, primarily around the dock, Burbidge said.

A year ago, the city began to examine the park in the context of some American Red Cross safety standards, then took it a step further by hiring an aquatic safety consultant.

The consultant raised concerns about the dock. Among them: Diving depths were not uniform — one side is deeper than the other — plus there is a risk of becoming trapped under the dock. There’s also a risk of injury from those who like to horse around on the dock before they jump into the water.

In addition to removing the dock, the consultant recommends adding an additional security camera and removing any underwater hazards, such as logs.

The city also has hired a landscape architect to produce some conceptual changes to the park, such as changing its sloped-style, Burbidge said. The city expects to see those proposed changes in May, she said.

So what happens to the old dock? It will get a second life.

The city plans to use it as a fishing dock at Long’s Pond at Woodland Creek Community Park. Swimming isn’t allowed there, so no one will be jumping off the dock into the pond.

If all this — and the sunny, warm weather — has put you in the mood to go swimming at Long Lake Park, you’ll have to wait. The swimming season (with lifeguards) opens June 22, the first weekend after school gets out, Burbidge said.

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