State Officials Hold Meeting on Overcrowding Study of Beltzville State Park

TOWAMENSING TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Concerned residents packed an informational meeting Thursday night in Carbon County to discuss the overcrowding issues at Beltzville State Park.

The Bureau of State Parks hosted the gathering to give people an update on a crowd study it's conducting.

It's no secret that lots of people seek out Beltzville State Park near Lehighton during the summer months, especially on weekends and holidays.

People living around the park say it's impossible to enjoy due to overcrowding.

“I don't come, I come during the week,” said Patricia Kern from Palmerton.

That's why concerned and upset residents packed into the Towamensing Volunteer Fire Company for an informational meeting with the DCNR's Bureau of State Parks.

State officials have been conducting a study assisted by Penn State University to determine how to relieve the issue.

The meeting was to update people on that study.

“We are giving people the opportunity to ask questions and to learn how the study is working. We are nowhere near completed the capacity study but we just wanted to give the public a chance to understand what we have going on,” said Alma Holmes, the park manager at Beltzville.

According to the Bureau of State Parks, this study began the summer of last year and is expected to run through the summer of this year.

At this point, ways to relieve overcrowding have yet to be determined.

Many here say the majority of people using the park don't live in the area and they do have an idea.

“I think non-residents should be charged a fee, I definitely think there should be a fee for non-residents,” said Greg Scheirer from Walnutport.

Others say it's a state park and everyone can use it.

“It's a state park and we should be allowed to use it. There's things you can do to reduce overcrowding without keeping poor people out,” said Roy Christman from Towamensing Township.

Still, some say it doesn't matter who comes to the park, as long as they respect it.

“It's a beautiful area,” said Anita Wescoe. “Why don't they come and enjoy it and follow the rules and the policies? Littering, illegally parking. Enjoy it, instead of doing that.”

The Bureau of State Parks says another meeting has not yet been set but is expected to hold one later in the year, closer to summer.


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