TAKE BACK PEEKAMOOSE BLUE HOLE
TAKE BACK PEEKAMOOSE BLUE HOLE
Why this petition matters
Peekamoose Blue Hole has been an important part of local lives for as long as anyone can remember. A large swimming hole located in the Sundown Wild Forest of the Catskill Forest Preserve, Blue Hole is supposed to be protected and, as shown by the title of the very place it's located, preserved. However, in recent years, it has become a tourist attraction. It has been featured in Vortex and advertised by local businesses who claim the tourism to be "good for the local economy." Our very few small businesses have been funded by the camping that takes place on the Peekamose camp grounds every summer, making the advertisement of Blue Hole unnecessary and extremely damaging to local ecosystems. It has also become a MAJOR traffic hazard on local roads. Town of Denning officials ignore our grievances and continue to do little to nothing for our community.
We have traffic jams (on a rather dangerous road to have one), making locals late to their jobs or other important events. Another traffic issue is the amount of people showing up. Blue Hole's capacity should not surpass 100. Yet I have seen anywhere from 300-400 people there at times. Finally, there are people speeding up and down our roads, endangering local children, pets, and wildlife.
The local DEP claim to protect our watershed, yet they have done nothing to right this wrong for several years. Forest Rangers arrive on scene every summer, whether it's to write tickets for littering or to check permits (which has done some good.) This past summer saw improvement, but locals fear for the safety of themselves, the wildlife, and the land. Minuscule alterations were made, but this has been the bare minimum, and has done little good. It only controls the traffic situation, which merely scratches the surface. While we are speaking about animals, let's cover the issue on garbage and bears.
The bears in the area are tearing up garbage bags that tourists are leaving behind. "If you carry it in, carry it out" has become a suggestion at this point. Local officials have put in dumpsters, but that is also a suggestion to the people coming to Blue Hole. They don't live there, so they don't care. The garbage is not only dangerous, but an eyesore to a previously pristine environment.
Another issue that has arisen due to the advertisement of Blue Hole is an over utilization of volunteer emergency services in the area. Volunteers are so tied up with the tourist emergency calls that when there is an actual resident that needs assistance, they are so preoccupied that they cannot support the local residents. An instance of this is told by a local EMT: "Last summer we responded to a call at Blue Hole. It stated that there was a young man hurt very badly near the rocks of the swimming hole. A helicopter was called assuming he would need to be transported, but when we arrived the people who called were simply lost and couldn't find their car." Also, we're sure forest rangers didn't want to spend their summer days directing traffic.
We have been fighting for justice for our local environment for years. No one is listening. Blue Hole has become a hazard and a threat to the well-being of local people, wildlife, and the environment in general. It needs to be shut down. Permits do nothing. Check ins do nothing. This has to stop. Enough is enough.
TAKE BACK BLUE HOLE!