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  Today Normal Record 6/30/2015
High 104° 92° 110° (1918) 108°
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CBS12 Chico

Chico's Sycamore Pool named in the top 10 natural swimming pools in the U.S.

Chico's Sycamore Pool named in the top 10 natural swimming pools in the U.S.

Residents of Chico have known this for years Bidwell Park's Sycamore Pool is one of America’s best natural public swimming pools and now, a popular web site is confirming that.

The unique water that makes up this swimming pool is creating quite a splash.

"This is our third time this week, so when it's hot and the grandkids are in town we're down here just about every day," said Dan Ruelas, who frequents Sycamore Pool.

And his wife retired to Chico a few years ago after spending most of their lives in the bay area... and the one mile pool is one reason why.

"We bring our kids they like to watch the water over the dam, so that's an attraction also," he said.

To call this a municipal swimming pool doesn't really do it justice.

"It's a source of beauty, it provides recreation for the community, but it's also habitat for numerous creatures out there," said Dan Efseaff.

As near as officials can determine, Sycamore Pool was built sometime in the 1920s, damming up Big Chico Creek by building concrete sides and bottom and putting in a fish ladder so salmon can make their way upstream.

“I actually like the natural feeling better, of being in a park, it's more relaxing, getting to lay on the grass, (no chlorine) it's better than hanging out on the cement," said Kaylin Renfro, a swimmer at the park.

Because the pool "is" the creek, there's no way to put cleaning chemicals in the water.

“It's not like we shock the pool and chlorinate it, it has to be part of the creek, so what you have coming in is natural creek water," Efseaff said.

 Not that anyone is complaining.

"You don't have the heavy smell of chlorine all the time, so we have plenty of water this year, it's running through, the water's nice and clear," Ruelas said.

And having a designated swimming area in the creek actually helps keep the ecosystem healthy especially on these hot summer days.

“People are going to seek the creek, and by having this feature here, it's a safe place they can come to and swim, and it minimizes impacts where it would create other swimming holes," Efseaff said.

So does Sycamore Pool belong on a nationwide "best of" list?

"It's in my top 10 for sure, it's an amazing resource for our community, a lot of people it's one of their first stops," Efseaff said.

Sycamore pool is closed on Thursdays for cleaning but it's open every other day between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

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