Trashed Park in Wyoming County Now Closed on Weekends

EATON TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- A popular park in Wyoming County is now closed on the weekends, and it could stay that way if visitors don't clean up their act.

People are sad to see a place filled with family memories now filled with trash. They say it's unfair to people who treat the park with respect and who now can't enjoy it on weekends in the summer like they're used to.

Rushing water, green grass, and birds chirping under blue skies -- that's what people look for when they come to Roadside Rest off Route 29 near Tunkhannock.

But instead this summer, they've been finding dirty diapers by the creek, garbage, and remnants from weekend parties.

"It's just sad to see that people can't pick up after themselves and respect it and keep something that nature's given us to enjoy," said Sharon Hall.

Hall and her daughter Gina have been coming to Roadside Rest for as long as they can remember.

"You can't come here anymore and swim and cool off and picnic and relax. This was the place to go," said Hall.

"There are people that just want to come down and have a good time and they actually pick up after themselves, and for those few people that come down and they just leave garbage everywhere, it ruins it for everybody else who actually loves this place like we do," said Gina Hall.

The rest area is owned by the county but maintained by PennDOT. About two weeks ago, the department chose to close the park on weekends.

"Recently, we've had issues of it looks like people are going out there over the weekends, having parties or doing all sorts of things out there, just really trashing the place. They were stuffing toilet paper down the port-a-johns, just leaving garbage and junk all over the place," said PennDOT official James May.

Signs say "no alcohol, no fires, no swimming."

Sharon and Gina don't think that closing the roadside rest on the weekends is the best solution because the rules here are already not enforced. Despite multiple signs posted around the park, in the short time we were there, Newswatch 16 saw empty beer bottles, firepits, and people swimming in the creek.

"Neither we nor the Pennsylvania State Police have the ability to have personnel, manpower out there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to basically babysit some kids who aren't behaving, who are trashing the place like this," said May.

Whatever the solution PennDOT comes up with, Argentina Bohner from Tunkhannock has a simple solution for everyone who comes to the park.

"After they're done, throw it away in the trash, whenever you find a trash can, not just leave it here," said Bohner.

PennDOT says Roadside Rest will be open for Labor Day weekend. After that, the department will reevaluate its options and decide what to do with the park.

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