Pools close early due to shortage of qualified lifeguards

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WATONGA Okla. - The pool at Roman Nose State Park has been a tradition for many families, but unfortunately in less than a week the pool will be closed. And, families we spoke to are devastated.

“I really hate to see it not be here for the kids,” said Sue Taylor.

Summertime at Roman Nose State Park is all about swimming, a tradition for Taylor and her daughter.

“I grew up coming out here, well, every summer,” said Jolee Bence.

Now, it's a tradition the grandchildren enjoy.

“I came here when I was a girl, and of course we lived in Watonga for 60 years,” Taylor said.

But, Taylor and her family are learning this will be their last dip in the Roman Nose State Park pool, at least for the rest of this summer.

“I heard it yesterday, and I was like I got to take my grandkids, so I jumped in the car today and brought my grandkids,” Bence said.

Roman Nose pool is expected to close temporarily July 17 and Red Rock Canyon's pool will close July 23.

The state said it's because of a shortage of qualified lifeguards. The pools typically stay open through Labor Day but, with many lifeguards going back to school and not enough interest, the pools will have to close earlier than planned.

“I know the state doesn't want the liability, but my thinking is I'll swim and just be responsible for my children and grandchildren,” Bence said.

For now, the families will have to wait until next year for a cool dip in the waters.

Oklahoma State Parks tells us, if they get applications in from qualified lifeguards, they could reconsider opening the pools again.

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