Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

May 25, 2023

Dan Keefe (518) 486-1868 |

New York State Parks and PIPC Announce Reopening of Lake Welch Beach

Steps to Address Lake-Wide Algal Bloom that Impacted the Lake Last Summer

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Palisades Interstate Park Commission today announced Lake Welch in Harriman State Park will fully open for the beach and picnic season the weekend with new measures in place to address Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs). A lakewide HAB occurred at Lake Welch in mid-June last year and persisted until the fall, preventing the lake from being open for swimming or other recreational activities.

"Lake Welch is in great shape and ready to go for the new season. After the Harmful Algal Bloom caused so much disappointment last year, we are taking proactive steps to minimize or mitigate a reoccurrence again this summer," said OPRHP Commissioner Erik Kulleseid. "While there is still much unknown about preventing HABs, we are hopeful these measures will help us better understand how to keep this popular recreational lake and beachfront safe and welcoming to the public for swimming, picnics and boating for generations to come." 

"With summer just around the corner, we are looking forward to a fantastic season of swimming, picnicking, and boating at beautiful Lake Welch in Harriman State Park," said Palisades Interstate Park Commission Executive Director Joshua Laird. "Thanks to significant investments by OPRHP, steps have been taken to reduce the risk of another HAB like the one that closed the Beach in 2022.  We are grateful to our State Parks colleagues for recognizing the importance of Lake Welch as a recreational resource for tens of thousands of visitors each summer."

The actions include:

  • reinstalling solar powered ultrasonic devices that can minimize or prevent HABs dependent on the bloom type and intensity. The ultrasonic devices also provide continuous monitoring of water quality data that can indicate if conditions in the lake are changing and a bloom may be forming. The devices were reinstalled in early May and will be removed at the end of the season
  • installing a 2,100-foot-long boom to minimize the movement of a HAB bloom and allow for targeted treatment to occur. The boom will be removed at the end of the season.
  • putting a contractor on stand-by to treat the lake with an algaecide to minimize the potential for a bloom to occur and provide treatment if a bloom does form.

Additionally, OPRHP has is in the process of designing improvements to the wastewater treatment plant; stormwater runoff and drainage systems, the dam sluice gate and associated infrastructure to enhance performance, reduce nutrient levels and improve water quality in the lake. Construction on these improvements is expected to begin this summer.

Environmental Facilities Corporation President and CEO Maureen A. Coleman said, "EFC applauds OPRHP's action to improve water quality at Lake Welch as we work together to maintain this recreational resource for the thousands of users who visit each year. We are reviewing funding opportunities to support OPRHP's efforts and will continue working strategically with our partners in government to further the clean water goals championed by Governor Hochul."

New York State has seen an increase in HABs across the state. Fueled by climate change, HABs are more likely to occur as temperatures rise. Warmer water allows the microscopic organisms to move more easily, allowing algae to float to the surface more quickly.  

Lake Welch sits within the 48,000 acres at Harriman State Park in the Ramapo mountains. It offers swimming, fishing, picnicking, hiking and camping and is conveniently located about 30 miles north of the George Washington Bridge. It is a popular spot for city residents looking for ways to beat the summer heat with a half-mile-long sandy beach. More than 15,000 people visit the park on peak weekends. For hours of operations, visit:

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 individual parks, historic sites, recreational trails, and boat launches, which were visited by a record 79.5 million people in 2022. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit, connect on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter