Sunday, June 27, 2010

An open letter to the Harwich Police Dept

An open letter from the Friends of Hawksnest to Chief William Mason, Harwich Police Dept.

Dear Chief Mason and other Harwich officials,

The Friends of Hawksnest are respectfully requesting the Town of Harwich to devote a higher priority to ending unlawful behavior at Hawksnest State Park.

This behavior includes
• Off road vehicle use—causes erosion
• Parties with alcohol—leads to broken bottles, litter, noise, and danger of injury
• Groups of people present after the 8:00 pm closing time—leads to other abuses
• Litter and human waste—danger to public health and the pond
• Illegal fires—phosphorus in the ashes will lead to toxic algae growth
• Illegal camping—leads to other abuse

We believe that controlling illegal behavior at the Round Cove Rd parking area is the key to conserving the pristine water quality, and to improving the recreational experience for all at Hawksnest.  Even the State's plans to restore eroded areas can't succeed without more enforcement at Hawksnest.

Among the various enforcement agencies, we believe Harwich Police are best positioned and equipped to respond, so they should be part of any solution. We believe that the acceptance of about $130,000 a year in State funds, because of Hawksnest, enables and obligates the town to help protect Hawksnest for the next generation of Harwich residents.

The Friends of Hawksnest volunteer to help with citizen patrols and public education.  Would a two-week campaign of increased patrols, coupled with press releases, help?

We ask the Town Government to work actively with other enforcement agencies, coordinate closely with them, and to coordinate closely with Friends of Hawksnest and Harwich Conservation Trust.

If working together, we can't significantly reduce the abuse, the State may feel compelled to close the to Round Cover Rd entrance to public vehicles.  After all, their top mandate is to protect the resource for future generations of Harwich residents.

While we recognize that resources are scarce, we do believe that improvements can be made through careful cooperation and coordination with all parties.

We thank you for your help with patrols so far this year.

David Thompson, for Friends of Hawksnest

Examples of some illegal behaviors we've observed since 6/17/10
Click on photos to enlarge

Alcohol parties; parties after 8:00 closing.  Find out here why parties are bad for the pond.

Human waste in parking area, in a watershed protection zone.
This drains to a puddle, which many vehicles splash through.

The ashes from illegal fires will fertilize the pond, creating blooms of toxic algae..

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