‘It was like a loss’: Sierra Beach at Belton Lake reopens after three year closure

Since 2020, Sierra Beach has been closed because park staff couldn’t find enough lifeguards to fill all of the positions.
Published: Jun. 3, 2023 at 10:01 PM CDT
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FORT CAVAZOS, Texas (KWTX) - Summer break is officially in full swing, and Central Texans don’t have to travel all the way to Galveston to enjoy the perfect beach day.

Sierra Beach at the Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area (BLORA) reopened on Saturday for the first time in three years. The beach is located on Fort Cavazos property, but open to anyone: military or civilian.

“It was like a loss that we went through,” visitor Tiffany Grant said.

Tiffany and her husband Benjamine Grant are among those who are celebrating their new summer spot.

”You don’t want to drive too far to Houston or Beaumont,” Tiffany said. “You want to keep it right here in the community.”

In honor of the special occasion, officials held a special grand re-opening complete with inflatable water slides and water balloon catapults.

Since 2020, the beach hasn’t had anyone on the sand or in the water. That’s because park staff couldn’t find enough lifeguards to fill all of the positions.

”Lifeguards in our industry are very difficult to find right now,” Thomas Kenney, outdoor recreation chief for Fort Cavazos, said. “That’s a nationwide issue.”

But with permission from Fort Cavazos leadership, the beach changed to a swim-at-your-own-risk facility, similar to other parks in the area.

Lifeguards or not, the Grants are already planning out their next visit to the reopened beach.

”We got little grandkids, so we’re going to bring them out here to enjoy the food, the water and the people,” Benjamine said.

The grand reopening is just the beginning of the many activities in store for the summer at Sierra Beach. Officials say a special closing of the season event is in the works for some time around Labor Day weekend.

Sierra Beach will be open from dusk until dawn on weekends throughout the summer. For more information on getting vehicle passes visit the BLORA website.