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La Crosse prepares for summer without lifeguards on beaches

Brad Williams

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A warning sign at Black River Beach says there will be no lifeguards there this summer

‘Swim at your own risk’ will be the rule at La Crosse’s two public beaches this summer.

The city park department has posted large signs at the Black River Beach and Pettibone, reminding swimmers that there will not be lifeguards at either beach this season.

A shortage of qualified lifeguards led the park department to make that decision earlier this year.

City recreation coordinator Leah Burns says trying to guard a riverfront beach is much harder than swimming pool duty, because the swimming area is bigger and it’s not easy to see the river bottom.

Buoys will be installed at the two beaches early in June, and they will be in place through mid-August.

The park department is still hiring lifeguards for the city-run pools.

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