Those holding out hope Big Deep and Little Deep might be open again may be pleased to know Woodstock’s town board is working on a plan.
“We should use August to experiment a bit,” councilman Richard Heppner said at the July 14 meeting of the town board. Heppner agreed to participate in a conference call with state authorities to figure out a way to open the popular hiking trail and swimming hole areas by permit without the need to hire a lifeguard.
Supervisor Bill McKenna recently ordered the area closed when the seasonal trash pileup become too much to handle for a maintenance department already stretched thin by pandemic-related cutbacks.
“We’re going to be here next year doing the same damn thing,” grumbled Heppner, who suggested a combination of a weekend part-time employee and volunteers to keep the town-owned property clean. Volunteers could help make sure people entering had valid permits.
Heppner said hiring a part-timer for a few hours each weekend day shouldn’t cost the town extra. The funding could come out of the recreation fund replenished by fees charged from new subdivisions are approved, he said.
Councilwoman Laura Ricci questioned whether this year is a good year to start given the pandemic. “It’s been open, basically,” Heppner responded, noting some people ignore the signs and barriers despite the risk of arrest and a trespassing citation.
Town clerk Jackie Earley questioned why anyone would want to enter that water given its questionable quality. “We should have that water tested,” she said. “It’s pretty disgusting back there.”
The location was tested for water quality before the town sewer system was installed in the 1980s. “It’s not going to get better next year,” Heppner said. “Either we come up with a system where we can enforce it, or let’s shut it down.”
Since the Big/Little Deep closure, Heppner said, people are finding places to swim. That’s also becoming a problem.
McKenna agreed with recent comments on social media that the closure is a reaction and not a solution. He is open to long-term ways of keeping the popular spots open to the public.
Two years ago, the town made permits to use Big and Little Deep available at the police dispatch office, but had to abandon the plan when state health officials said the town would be assuming liability, requiring a lifeguard.
Speeding on Glasco Turnpike
Terry and Linda Lover said they have been seeing a lot of changes to their neighborhood on Glasco Turnpike, most notably an increase in traffic. They said a speed limit decrease from 40 to 30 m.p.h. would make the area safer.
There are now more children walking and riding bikes and people walking dogs. There have been many close calls and recently a significant automobile accident, Terry Lover said. Bushes obscure the intersection at Lower Byrdcliffe, causing safety issues, he added.
Supervisor Bill McKenna wasn’t sure the county would be willing to lower the speed limit since they conducted a few studies in recent years. But he encouraged the Lovers to contact the county highway department about the bushes. Glasco Turnpike is a county road.