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Lifeguards Eliminated Amid Pandemic to Be Restored at Cape Cod National Seashore

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Cape Cod National Seashore / NPS
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Marconi Beach

Lifeguards will be restored this summer to two beaches on the Cape Cod National Seashore after they were eliminated last year because of factors related to the pandemic.

All six beaches, including Head of the Meadow and Herring Cove, will have lifeguards and charge fees this year, according to Brian Carlstrom, superintendent of the park.

The Cape Cod National Seashore proved highly popular last summer.

Carlstrom said the park had 4.1 million visitors and ranked ninth in the national park system. It normally ranks in the top 20-something.

“That's pretty remarkable,” he said. “People wanted to get outside, connect with the outdoors, enjoy the seashore and all the natural wonders it presents.”

More people visited the Cape Cod National Seashore last summer than Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, and some other big-name parks, he said. “And that was pretty amazing for us.”

The park cut lifeguards from Head of the Meadow and Herring Cove last summer, in part because of social distancing in lifeguard housing. The applicant pool was small as well.

Carlstrom said new cleaning procedures will allow the park to employ more people this season.

“We're looking at our ratios of people to bathrooms and implementing some additional cleaning protocols,” he said.

Staffing this year will be “closer to normal,” but not the same as before the pandemic, he said.