DERRY — With temperatures recently soaring into the 90s, those who love the beach were able to return to a favorite watery spot in Derry to cool off.
Gallien's town beach is now open to residents daily, with specific safety guidelines now in place to ensure visitors are kept safe this summer.
Derry’s Parks and Recreation Department had to cancel or postpone many springtime events, athletics and other popular programs in past weeks due to the coronavirus, commonly known as COVID-19. But some summer spots are now open and welcoming families back to enjoy the season.
That includes the beach, local playgrounds, and fields.
Gallien’s Beach at Beaver Lake officially opened June 15 and is for residents only. There are also more specific rules and regulations now in place to control how many people can be on the beach safely at one time.
Town playgrounds are also open at Hood Park and Don Ball Park.
Other summer traditions, like the free summer concert series in MacGregor Park, are cancelled for this year. The annual Fourth of July fireworks is also postponed and the traditional and long-running outdoor Derryfest celebration in September will take on a more virtual look, but will not be held at MacGregor Park this year.
Another popular summer destination in Derry is the watery Splashpad at Don Ball Park off Humphrey Road. Every summer the water park area draws families from all over the region and even northern Massachusetts as the park is open to all, free of charge.
The Splashpad, however, will remain closed.
Derry's Public Works Director Michael Fowler said opening the beach and playgrounds is a way to offer some outdoor recreational opportunities for families during these challenging times, while other locations, including the Splashpad, will remain closed due to the increased difficulty to keep social distancing in mind.
"And we didn't want to contribute to further health issues," Fowler said. "Better safe than sorry."
But at Gallien's, things seem to be running smoothly, he added.
Fowler said people have been calling the Parks and Recreation Department to ask questions and get information. Mostly, all is going well and people are abiding by the rules this summer.
"We are happy with what we've seen so far," Fowler said. "There have been a few wrinkles here and there, but customers have been very understanding."
Fowler added with so many unknowns about the summer schedule and how it would all play out in past months, having the beach and playgrounds open for the summer is one opportunity the town is happy to provide.
"Families are having to make decisions on where they feel safe to go," Fowler said. "We are pleased to be able to provide this opportunity."
Gallien's Beach/Beaver Lake
— The beach is restricted to Derry residents only with required proof of residency.
— Hours of operation, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., weather permitting
— Guests are asked to limit their beach visit to two hours to provide others the opportunity to visit.
— The beach is open on a first come, first serve basis, with a maximum of 50 residents at park at one time.
— Social distancing and masks highly recommended, but no masks in water. No concessions are open. Group sizes should not exceed six people and should be those living in one household. Staff will be on hand to help direct vehicles, and for other help needed.
— Call for additional information at 432-6136.