Swimming, wading and playing in the water are great ways to cool off on hot summer days, but there are ever-present risks in lakes and rivers. Swift currents, abrupt drop-offs and cold water all create dangers, even for experienced swimmers.
Swimming is allowed in most Clark County parks that have water access.
For an added level of safety, Klineline Pond has a life jacket loaner station for children and adults.
Please remember that Salmon Creek Regional Park is one of four large parks where parking fees are collected or an annual pass is required.
Having lifeguards on duty reduces the inherent dangers with swimming, but park users should follow basic water safety at all times.
Parents also need to supervise their children. Clark County Code 9.05.080 prohibits adults from leaving children unaccompanied in or near a lake, pond or other waterway.
Clark County parks on the Columbia River, namely Captain William Clark Regional Park at Cottonwood Beach and Frenchman's Bar Regional Park, are not safe for swimming because of strong currents and sudden drop-offs.
In addition, swimming is not allowed at Lucia Falls Regional Park because areas near the falls are sensitive fish spawning grounds.
The following Clark County facilities have water access but do not have lifeguards on duty. Park users swim at their own risk. Parents should be vigilant watching children near the water.
- Daybreak Regional Park
- Frenchman’s Bar Regional Park
- Haapa Boat Launch
- Lewisville Regional Park
- Moulton Falls Regional Park
- Vancouver Lake Regional Park
There are other public swimming areas or pools in the county that are not operated by Clark County Parks:
- Battle Ground Lake State Park
- Firstenburg Community Center, Vancouver Parks and Recreation
- Marshall/Luepke Community Center, Vancouver Parks and Recreation
To report a water quality concern, contact Clark County Public Health at 360.397.8428 or DLCntyHealthWaterRec@clark.wa.gov.
Public Health posts current health advisories for Battle Ground Lake, Klineline Pond and Vancouver Lake on its public beaches webpage.
About 4,000 children, teenagers and adults drown in the United States each year.
Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths among children and teenagers 1 to 14 years old, trailing only motor vehicle crashes.
Drowning is the second leading cause of all deaths among children 1 to 4 years old, trailing only birth defects.
In Washington state, an average of 25 children and teens drown each year.
There are several steps parks users can take to promote water safety at county parks:
- Learn how to swim and never swim alone. Always practice the buddy system while in the water.
- Watch swimmers while in or near the water. Designate a responsible adult who can swim to watch those in the water, especially children.
- Use U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets, especially for children and adults who are not strong swimmers.
- Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation and basic first aid. These skills could save someone’s life.
- Obey posted rules that are in place for your protection.
- Know the setting and be aware of strong currents, drop-offs and other potential hazards.
- Never dive off bridges and cliffs. Winter storms can shift underwater boulders, creating summer diving hazards where none existed the year before.
For more information, watch this July 2017 CVTV video.