Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
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204 Broad Street
Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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Editorial: Consider safer, legal recreation
Sunday, June 10, 2012
As people head to local lakes for recreation and relief from the heat, they need to remember that some areas are off limits, and for good reason.
Henry County has eight watershed lakes that were built in the early 1960s with state and federal funds to control flooding. One of them is Seals Lake, located on private property in the Spencer area.
On June 2, the second drowning in less than a year occurred at that lake. Police say apparently, the victim was among several people fishing at the lake despite the fact that the land they accessed was posted as private property and no permission was given for its use. As a result, the people could have been charged with trespassing, but the owner did not want to pursue that under the circumstances, police said.
People’s use of facilities such as a watershed lake might be more understandable if there were not safer, legal options for fishing, swimming and other water recreation in the area. Fairystone State Park and Philpott Lake are available for anyone to use, with some charges for some of the facilities, and the Smith River is a popular venue for boating and fishing. For those who can afford to pay, there are pools in the area. Many of those places also offer water safety programs and instruction.
We hope people take advantage of this area’s natural resources and recreation opportunities. But we encourage them to do that in areas that are safe and legal for public use. No one wants summer fun to turn tragic.