When mulling over that eternal 4th of July question, Mountains v. Beach, consider that mountains are never closed because of bacteria that transmit rashes, pink eye, respiratory infections, meningitis, and hepatitis. Beaches, on the other hand, are closed for exactly that reason. And last year the number of beach closings and advisories, most of which were connected to bacteria, reached the second highest level in the past two decades, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.
What's worse is that the tests for bacteria levels take 24 hours. Swimmers might be enjoying a dip in what seems like cool, clean water, unaware that they're really swimming in a gross primordial soup. Under a legal settlement with NRDC, the EPA has to approve a test with same-day results by next year. But beaches don't have to use it. Me, I'm thinking mountains this weekend.