Cops fight back against the befouling of Kaaterskill Clove

Announced by the state Department of Environmental Conservation today: 60 tickets issued to 21 people, in a crackdown on the increasing problem of illegal, unsafe, and unbelievably gross use of Kaaterskill Clove by swimmers and picnickers.

Recently, the overuse of Kaaterskill Clove, on Route 23A between Palenville and Haines Falls, has become a huge problem. Last week, the Windham Journal reported that local and state officials held a brainstorming session to figure out what to do about the problems at the Clove -- which range from human feces to a sprawl of cars parked in driving lanes to fights and slashed car tires.

The recent tickets, issued between July 7 and 9, span a wide range of offenses: littering, illegal parking, underage drinking, marijuana possession. From today's DEC press release:

A number of individuals would cook food then dump the charcoal from their grills and food waste directly into the stream, along with glass bottles, human waste and other garbage. A number of those ticketed were from out of the immediate area and were arrested and immediately arraigned before the town of Hunter Court.

The DEC worked with New York State Police, the Greene County Sheriff's Department, and the Town of Hunter Police Department on the sting operation.

The DEC also announced the arrest of two Catskill residents by the Hunter Police Department after an investigation into increased vandalism and thefts in the area:

Town of Catskill resident Michael Richardson (age 35) was charged with third degree criminal mischief (felony), fourth degree criminal possession of stolen property (felony), possession of a controlled substance, heroin (misdemeanor) and endangering the welfare of a child (misdemeanor). Town of Catskill resident Jessica Moore (age 28) was also charged with endangering the welfare of a child (misdemeanor).

The ongoing problems at the Clove have Catskills outdoors-lovers worried. A user recently brought up the issue in a discussion on the forum -- and proposed a solution:

For years it has been proposed that the DOT and DEC put in a parking lot on the old Rip Van Winkle Roadway that runs along the Kaaterskill Creek from Moore's Bridge to Haines Falls. Between Lake Creek and Moore's Bridge it could hold several hundred cars. This would be the best long-term solution. It would cause a longer hike to Kaaterskill Clove and reduce the number of visitors. It would get all the cars off the road. It would also make it better for ice climber to access the many ravines for ice climbing. This solution would be expensive and would take a long time to implement.