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Gladstone beach open, Escanaba getting close

Get ready for sunscreen, sand and swimwear season because local beaches are getting ready to open to the public.

The Escananba Municipal Beach will officially open within the next couple of weeks according to Parks and Recreation Director Kim Peterson. The beach will be open seven days a week from 12 to 7 p.m.

This year the beach will be set with personnel — unlike the past few years.

“We have multiple lifeguards,” Peterson said.

The beach is also upgrading its access for wheelchair users and people with special needs, installing a MobiChair that will take individuals from the parking lot to the beach. The beach already had a Mobi-mat but will be able to provide its own MobiChair.

“That was made possible by Elks Lodge 354 and the Hannahville 2% Grant,” Peterson said.

The Gladstone Beach at Van Cleve Park is getting started a little earlier, opening over the weekend, according to Gladstone Parks and Recreation’s Robert Brown.

The beach will be open to the public Wednesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. This year, the beach is subcontracting four lifeguards from the YMCA as finding certified lifeguards proved to be a challenge.

A beach staple is coming back as well, Brown said that public works is installing a ‘water jungle gym’ with a slide going into the water.

“The kids love it,” he said.

Visitors may notice the beach is in a different spot, that is because Brown moved it roughly 40 feet to the east away from a sandbar. This will allow for more swimming area and deter visitors from walking or swimming in the sandbar.

“That should also allow the slide to be in deeper water,” Brown said.

In terms of water levels, Peterson and Brown both said they are down this year.

This means that both beaches will have more sand beach than years past. Brown estimated that there is roughly 20 extra feet of beach at the Gladstone Beach.

Neither beach provides concessions, so be sure to bring water and snacks before getting your toes in the sand.

Additionally, Gladstone got the summer season started as the Summer Concert Series kicked off on Thursday, June 13.

The series runs every Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. until August 15 at Gladstone’s Van Cleve Park.

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