Park Point Beaches Packed, Lester Park Busy With People Enjoying Sunshine

DULUTH, Minn. – Park Point beaches were filled with people enjoying the warm temperatures and beautiful sunshine along the shores of Lake Superior.

“We got the guys, chilling with the boys, the females walking around, we got these guys, Seth, all them, it’s crazy,” said one beach-goer. “We’ve got everyone here. It’s just insane.”

Insane is how some people might describe a crowded beach in the middle of a pandemic.

Beach-goers we spoke with say they know it might not be the best idea, but they’re willing to take the risk.

“It worries me every day, but usually I try to stay away from people who are vulnerable about the virus,” said Sebastian Lannelongue.

They say you can only expect people to isolate for so long before they rush into public again.

“You can’t really expect a human being to just be confined and have no social interactions,” added Lannelongue.

Meanwhile, the parking lot was also packed at Lester Park in Duluth.

“I just thought it would be a good day on my days off just to take them out and get them outside because we’ve been isolating at the house,” said Joel Boshey, who was at the park with his daughters.

Families swam in the Lester River and hikers enjoyed miles of wooded trails.

“There’s a lot of people that are out, but you don’t really cross paths with that many people,” said hiker Megan Stumpf.

While people are flocking to inland parks in Duluth, families tell us there was a lot of space to spread out.

“It ain’t cram packed and everybody kind of keeps their distance and the water’s constantly flowing,” explained Boshey.

Back on the beaches, people say they try to keep their distance from other groups.

That’s not always possible with how busy it is, but swimmers say it’s worth it to spend time in Lake Superior.

“You get a great, great, beautiful day like this and you could just jump into this freezing water that never goes to a comfortable temperature. You can always feel like you’re sitting in the middle of an iceberg,” explained Lannelongue. “It’s like nothing in the world.”

The City of Duluth is now considering making restrictions along Park Point beaches because of the large crowds not following social distancing guidelines.

Here’s a statement from a city spokesperson:

“The City of Duluth continues to monitor all public facilities and assets to ensure that the public can get outdoors safely. Where social distancing is a challenge in crowded and popular locations, we have taken steps to provide new locations for people to be able to spread out and recreate safely. We are aware that large crowds have been gathering along the Park Point beach while not exhibiting social distancing, wearing masks, and other safety measures. As has been made abundantly clear by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Minnesota Department of Health, St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services, and the City of Duluth, the public is expected to adhere to social distancing guidelines (a minimum of 6 feet of distance away from others), to wear a mask while in public places where people gather, no large gatherings of more than 10 people, and other safety measures that can be found on the Minnesota Department of Health’s website.

We know people value their health and each other, and we are asking that people spread out along the 7 miles of beach front to keep themselves and others safe. If needed, the City will consider restrictions along the beach due to safety concerns. Moving forward, the City will provide information about how and where the public can gather along the 7 continuous miles of beach front along Park Point. The City asks that everyone make the best decisions to keep yourself and others safe so that we can all continue to enjoy our beautiful outdoors safely.”

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