Updated water access restrictions at Popham Beach and Reid State Parks

Fri, 07/31/2020 - 10:30am

AUGUSTA –Earlier this week, in response to the fatal shark attack near Bailey Island, water activity restrictions took effect at Maine's coastal State Parks with beaches. Today, July 31, the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry's Bureau of Parks and Lands (BPL) is limiting water access at the following beaches:

Popham Beach State Park and Reid State Park restricted to waist-deep water access (the lagoon at Reid State Park remains open).

Ferry Beach State Park and Crescent Beach State Park remain restricted to waist-deep water access.

All other coastal Maine State Parks are allowing regular water activity. to waist-depth.

The decision to increase water activity depth from ankle- and knee-deep at Popham Beach and Reid State Parks comes after consultation with the Maine Marine Patrol. State Park Rangers and lifeguards will continue to actively monitor for sharks and have the authority to clear the water should any concerns arise.

On Wednesday, July 29, Popham Beach State Park lifeguards alerted the Department of Marine Resources (DMR) to a possible shark sighting. Maine Marine Patrol searched the area and did not see any sharks but spotted an ocean sunfish and seals feeding on fish. Maine Marine Patrol has fielded reported shark sightings following Monday’s incident and there are no confirmed white shark sightings. 

BPL's current plan, assuming there is no confirmed shark activity in the vicinity of the Parks, is to return to regular swimming at all four Parks on Monday, Aug. 3. Daily beach condition reports are posted to social media and online.