Cracking Down At Illegal Swimming Spot

WEST BRUNSWICK TOWNSHIP---Jumping off Peace Rock or 'The Rock,' as it's called, into the Schuylkill River has been a pastime for decades, but swimming at that spot and the nearby Kernsville Dam on the Berks County line is off limits.

State officials posted the area and banned trespassing in 2016.

They say the area is times deadly.

The latest drowning was in 2016.

"If people are gonna get injured then they shouldn't be jumping off that rock. There are so many other places you can go for free around here, you don't have to go to that rock,” said Traci Arnold of Sinking Spring.

Despite the warnings, swimmers persist.

Already the warm weather has drawn folks back to the water and state police fear this weekend will kick off yet another season of problems in the area.

So, they say they said they are cracking down with a zero-tolerance policy: they will increase patrols and cite anyone they find.

"I knew it as pulpit rock that's what they used to always call it when I was young and hey! We thought nothing of it, even though there was some drowning, but hey! What are you gonna do? People drown every day in different places. We never thought it to be that dangerous,” said Frederick Kauffman of Port Clinton.

State police say a few years back, an online video showcasing Peace Rock went viral and since then, thousands of people have flocked from Pennsylvania and beyond.

Not everyone believes banning swimmers in the area is a good idea.

Anna Kauffman of Port Clinton said it seems extreme.

"Yes, I think so, yes. And it's happening quite often since the shutdown yes," said Kauffman.

State officials said they are hoping to remove the Kernsville Dam by the year 2020, which should drop water levels and keep swimmers at bay.

The state police patrol in Schuylkill County and they told Newswatch 16 because they have a zero-tolerance policy this year, they will tow away any vehicle that's parked in this area and they are going to fine anyone caught swimming in that area.

State police said in the end, it is going to cost violators hundreds of dollars.

"I think they should. It's the only way you're gonna stop people from doing it,” said Arnold.

State police and police in Berks County filed more than 200 trespassing citations last year and they expect to hand out many more this year.


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