New Place to Swim

Cheat Lake beach will be dedicated Saturday

Morgantown Dominion Post - 25 May 2012
By Chelsea Fuller

INFO ON Fun Day activities, contact Duane Nichols at 304-216-5535.

Just in time for Memorial Day and summer fun, the Cheat Lake Environment and Recreation Association (CLEAR) will host a Family Day Celebration at Cheat Lake Park and Trail from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.

Duane Nichols, president of CLEAR, said Saturday’s event is great for families looking to spend some time outdoors during the holiday weekend.

The organization, founded in 2003 to ensure environmental stewardship and management of the recreational potential at Cheat Lake, also will dedicate the Millstone Point Beach at 11 a.m.

“We have been planning the beach for about 10 years,” Nichols said. “We are excited to open it to the public. It is the only place on Cheat Lake you can swim off the shore.”

The swimming beach is an all-natural area that CLEAR created to provide a shoreline swimming area for park patrons, Nichols said.

“It is a natural beach. We just removed some vegetation and brought in some more sand,” he said.

Accessible from the park’s 4 1/2-mile trail, the beach is open from dawn to dusk every day unless otherwise advertised, Nichols said.

Fun Day events include something for all ages. Early risers can participate in a 5k walk/race, scheduled to begin at 8 a.m.

“People will enjoy the 5k, it is good exercise and great practice for those looking to run other 5ks this summer,” Nichols said.

Other activities include a nature walk that begins at 1:30 p.m., pontoon boat rides, a fish research demonstration and activities for children, such as a fun-run and face painting, Nichols said.

Along with the dedication, certificates of appreciation will be given to FirstEnergy Corp., PACE Enterprises and others for their leadership in achieving the new Cheat Haven Hiking Trail, the CLEAR Boat Dock and the Historic & Interpretive Signs now in the Park, according to a news release.

Beating the weekend crowd, Morgantown natives Jamie Marranca and Amanda Whitaker, each with a daughter in tow, enjoyed the new beach Wednesday afternoon. They said they will definitely frequent Cheat Lake Park and the new beach this summer.

“This is the first we’ve heard about the beach; it’s awesome,” Marranca said as she played in the water with her 18-month-old daughter.

“We’ve enjoyed the park’s trail and playground area before, but this is a great addition. It’s very familyfriendly,” Whitaker said.

Nicholas said the small beach will more than likely be a family attraction because of its size.

“It isn’t very big, so it will probably attract families with small kids. Older kids will probably prefer a bigger area, but all are welcome,” he said.

Cheat Lake Park and Trail has been open to the public since 2000 and has been a site frequented for fishing, hiking, biking, picnics and other outdoor recreation, Nichols said.