CLARKSBURG — Sunday marked the first day of permitted swimming at the Clarksburg State Park and as of 1:30 p.m., one family had the water and the beach to themselves.
North Adams residents Bryan Ellsworth and Kim Scott and their children Jayse, 7, Jaren, 5, and Aliya,3, were the only picnickers on a warm sunny day. The family came to the park to celebrate Father's Day, Ellsworth said.
"Someone told me that it was open for swimming so we came up for Father's Day," he said. "We did some fishing and the little ones were catching punkin seeds left and right. They were happy catching fish and I probably did more watching them than I did fishing."
State Department of Conservation and Recreation officials announced last month that swimming would be allowed at the park on June 19. DCR Western Region Director Michael Case said earlier this month that Memorial Day day use side attendance generated $1,199, a boost of $400 over recent years.
Park ranger Christopher Bullet said yesterday that reservations for the park's pavilion are increased over previous years.
"That's going well, it's up quite a bit," he said.
The 119 Middle Road 368-acre park offers camping and hiking as well as swimming and has small grills for cooking.
Ellsworth said he had no idea why attendance yesterday was minimal.
"You can see all the work they did up here," he said. "The bathrooms are really nice. You can see that they did a lot. I used to come here a lot with my grandparents. It was nice then and it is nice now."
Scott remembered camping at the park's campgrounds as a child. She remembers when the park was plagued by issues including goose infestation and beavers. The grounds are well-maintained and improved, she said.
"I am comfortable that issues are resolved," she said. "They aren't going to say that they took care of things if they didn't. It's nice for us because (Ellsworth) can fish and we can swim."
Jayse and Jaren agreed that swimming was the best part of visiting the park and Jaren added that he enjoyed "going underwater."
The chance to make new memories at a favorite place is a benefit, Ellsworth said but added there is an incident from his youth that he hopes does not recur.
"I was about eight years old the last time I was swimming here," he said. "And I got into a ground bees' nest. That is my last memory from swimming here with my grandparents."