Ulster Co. swimming hole impacted by popularity
Colin Moynihan is reporting in The New York Times on the impact of internet fame on the freshwater pool known as Blue Hole, located approximately 20 miles from Woodstock, in Ulster County. In the past most people learned about the pool through word of mouth, but several years ago mentions surfaced on the internet. Now, the pool is attracting up to 1,000 visitors a day. The impact on the site has been profound. Basil Seggos, the commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, said last week that while the agency encouraged the use of public land, concern over the Blue Hole has grown. “We’ve seen a significant increase in trash, damage to vegetation and trees, and soil erosion,” he said. “We need to protect these natural assets, and we’re working on possible strategies for the future, including limiting the number of visitors at a given time.” The DEC last year issued emergency regulations, and in June it issued a statement saying Blue Hole was "overused." The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics this year designated the site as one of 16 spots negatively affected by recreational use. There is some evidence the efforts by government and conservation groups could be paying off. However, some local residents told The Times that, outreach and enforcement aside, there was no way to slow the crowds. “Once social media got ahold of this, it really turned things around,” said one Denning resident. Read the full story in The New York Times.