After searching in vain for a beach director for more than four months, the Parks and Recreation Commission is going with plan B—partnering with Marcus Lewis, who runs the beach program at Mirror Lake in Devens.
Swimming lessons will move to Mirror Lake, where Harvard’s lifeguards will work. Bare Hill Pond will have no lifeguards and will be posted as “swim at your own risk” for the summer. The plan for boating lessons is still under discussion.
Parks and Recreation Commission Chair Bob O’Shea told the Press he was contacted recently by Lewis, who has contracted with the state for years to run the beach program at Mirror Lake. Lewis had the opposite problem—a beach director, but no kids signed up for swimming lessons. That created a perfect opportunity to work together.
O’Shea said keeping the lifeguards who had already signed up to work at Bare Hill Pond this year is an important part of the agreement. He doesn’t want them to lose another year of training and experience, as they did when the beach was closed in 2020 because of COVID-19. “It’s important to keep kids moving through our pipeline,” he said.
Although there will be no lifeguards at Bare Hill Pond, stickers will still be required to park at the beach, and beach employees will be there during the day to make sure every vehicle has one. “We can’t leave it wide open,” O’Shea said. “We’ll end up with a lot of people coming from out of town, like they do at 5 p.m.,” the hour when the sticker checkers leave. No sticker is required for vehicles dropping people off at the beach.
There are no boating lessons at Mirror Lake, but O’Shea said it’s possible the waterfront director could come to Harvard in the afternoons to run boating lessons. It all depends on how many kids sign up for the program, he said. Fees for parking at Mirror Lake during swimming lessons have not been worked out, either. Sign-ups for swimming lessons should be done on the Mirror Lake website at magicmirrorlake.com/swim-lessons. The first session will begin June 20. Boating lesson sign-ups should still be done on the Harvard town website at https://www.harvard-ma.gov/parks-recreation-commission/webforms/boating-sailing.
Harvard town beach parking stickers can only be purchased online at harvard.ma.gov/parks-recreation-commission/webforms/parking-stickers.
Stickers are required to park at town beach from Memorial Day to Labor Day.