Response to signs, concern lead to less trashing of Woodstock swimming holes

(Photo by Dion Ogust)

The Woodstock Town Board decided to take a wait-and-see approach with the Big and Little Deep swimming holes to gauge whether signs and an increased police presence will continue to improve conditions.

“It did seem to be a bit improved,” said Supervisor Bill McKenna at the July 17 Town Board business meeting. McKenna said he walked through the area over the weekend and asked visitors for their help in keeping it clean so the town doesn’t need to close it.

The Maintenance Department has spent several Mondays clearing out several bags of trash after weekend visitors did not follow the carry in, carry out rule. 


This Monday the town posted a message on Facebook thanking people for helping improve conditions after town employees only had to clean out one bag of trash. Several residents commented that they helped clean up over the weekend.

Councilman Richard Heppner, who walked through Big Deep with Councilman Lorin Rose on Sunday morning said they saw two or three fire pits, which is concerning especially since there are homes nearby. Fires and cooking are not permitted.

The town recently installed temporary signs with the rules, such as no grilling or cooking, no glass containers, carry in, carry out, no dogs off leash and no loud music.

Councilwoman Laura Ricci suggested other signs that read “No Food” and “No Alcohol,” but Heppner said they have to be legal.

“If we’re going to put up all these signs, you better be able to enforce it,” he said.

In response to suggestions for signs with large fine amounts, McKenna said that would have to be backed by local laws. The only offense that has a fine attached is littering. Police can escort people for breaking the other rules, but cannot issue tickets with potential fines.

McKenna said the board is welcoming suggestions and it will be discussed at future board meetings. Possible remedies include more laws to allow fines and permits for parking.

Rick Volz improvements in the works

The board heard updates on plans for improvements to Rick Volz Park in Bearsville Flats, including news that construction will start in about a month on a new pavilion.

Plans also include a new playground to replace rusting equipment that is a liability, said Parks and Recreation Task Force member Michael Stock Sr. 

Also planned is a cinder walking trail that may eventually connect to the Comeau hiking loop.

But Jake Ross, who lives next to the park, questioned whether the additions attract more people to come. He also expressed concern for the town wellheads, which are located on the park and questioned the proposed rerouting of an access road near the town water supply. “Why haven’t we built anything there in 15 years?” he said, suggesting better enforcement and possible speed bumps to make the existing access road safer instead of moving it.

Stock said the reason nothing was added in the past is because nobody was tasked to it until the task force was formed. He said the only additions are courts for bocce and handball and possibly a horseshoe area.

McKenna said no work will be done around the wellheads until engineers provide the town with recommendations.

Some daytime work

Motorists may have noticed daytime work being done on Mill Hill Road, causing traffic backups.

Last week, the Kingston Water Department assisted with installing a valve at either end of the town water line on small bridge near Bradley Meadows. 

This week and next week, crews will be running a drainage pipe up the road connect catch basins.

There was some daytime work scheduled this week because Central Hudson needed to assist by supporting a utility pole while crews removed an old pipe.

A majority of the work is done overnight Sunday through Thursday to minimize impacts to businesses as much as possible. Catch basins and other drainage is installed, then temporarily filled back in for the daytime traffic, often giving the appearance nothing was done.++

Nick Henderson