CORTLANDT, N.Y. - Supervisor Linda Puglisi said the Town of Cortlandt is actively trying to deter swimmers from walking down the steep slopes of Quaker Bridge Road to reach the Croton River.
Puglisi said Monday that additional "No Parking" signs, boulders blocking off parking areas and increased police presence was deterring people from parking on the road and swimming in the river.
"There's been an improvement on the Quaker Bridge Road side," Puglisi said.
Residents along the east side of the Croton River, at Quaker Bridge Road, say parking problems and litter have increased since the swimming spot became a word-of-mouth destination for people from around the tri-state area. Swimmer safety is also a concern of government officials. "Every single year, there's at least one drowning," said Puglisi.
In addition to anecdotal evidence offered by swimmers in the area, and residents, the Croton Police Department compiled a list of 14 incidents including broken bones, near-drownings and even deaths which have occurred at the river since 2005. Three of the victims aided were Croton residents; others were from around Westchester County and the Bronx.
The land below town-owned Quaker Bridge Road is owned by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Its designation as a "unique area" allows open campfires, consumption of alcohol and tent camping for up to three days without a permit. Residents and Puglisi say these activities are inappropriate in a heavily populated residential area.
The confluence of nine jurisdictions along the one-and-a-half mile stretch of river has complicated enforcement efforts.
According to Puglisi, state officials "said to us, 'Hey, we have 20,000 acres of state park land, and we don't have the resources,'" to patrol the 19 acres along Quaker Bridge Road. "Maybe the state Parks Department could take it over; we're talking to county officials," said Puglisi. Regarding legal campfires, she said, "Well, that has to end."