Thursday, June 24, 2010

Friends of Hawksnest begin "Citizen Patrol"

Recently Friends of Hawksnest visited Sgt. Consadine of the Harwich Police, to discuss problems at the Round Cove Rd parking area.

Consadine was cordial--he said that the Department couldn't patrol frequently, because the dreadful condition of Round Cove Rd had damaged patrol cars in the past.  But he said the Department would respond to calls reporting a problem from residents.

Both the town and State are thin on resources.  Nevertheless, we feel that the Town Police should be the one to respond to complaints of abuse, because they are properly equipped, and have cruisers in the area.  The Town is compensated by the DCR for loss of tax revenues caused by the park, so it's fitting and proper that the Town contribute something to the park.

The staff of Nickerson State Park should respond to other kinds of complaints, such as cleanup of illegal fires or dumping.  Friends of Hawksnest can do its part by patrolling, and keeping the area picked up.

To report a problem, call the Harwich Police non-emergency number: 508-430-7541, then dial 0.  A dispatcher will relay your report to an available officer.  If the road has puddles, only the SUV vehicle may respond.

Last weekend, Friends of Hawksnest mounted a patrol for three nights (6/18-20), checking the Round Cove Rd parking area after closing time (8:00 pm).  All was quiet the first two nights (the mosquitoes helped), but on Sunday night, and illegal camper was discovered.   The police were summoned, and responded in 14 minutes.Thank you, Harwich!
Update: On Friday, 6/25, a large beach party with alcohol was spotted at closing time, plust two ATVs, so the Environmental Police were summoned.  We don't know if they responded.
Why patrols are important

Everyone wishes Hawksnest could be the "town swimming hole," with no regulations or patrols--where people could enjoy the swimming and "just do their thing."

That's the way it has been for the last 30 years.  But unfortunately, things have steadily gone downhill at the two parking areas.  In the 1990s, ATVs going to the beach (during drought years) broke down the bank, causing the ugly gully that now threatens the pond with pollution.  Irresponsible use at Round Cove Rd parking has led to erosion, illegal fires, cutting of trees to expand parking, litter, broken glass--and now, much human waste strewn about.

Finally, the State has plans to restore the erosion at both parking area.  But these plans won't be successful if the abuse continues.  The plantings will surely be ripped up by vehicles and ATVs. 

So to preserve Hawksnest for future generations, it's essential to regain "control" of the parking areas.  In talking about it, I've encountered statements like "kids will be kids," or "the vandals will have their way, no matter what you do."

I don't agree.  If people care enough, and if they're willing to give a little of that caring back to the Pond, then they can make a difference.

If we can get enough people involved, the best approach is a patrol of two people, who rely on the power of persuasion to get party-goers to leave.  If that fails, then call the police.  Persuasion and education will gain more friends for the park in the long run.

For now, I'd recommend enforcing:
  • Park closing time 8:00 pm
  • No alcohol--leads to all kinds of abuse
  • No camping--leads to fires, litter, human waste
  • No fires--ashes lead to growth of algae in pond
  • Pack out what you carry in
  • No vehicles off-road

No comments:

Post a Comment