Institute erects fence in Glen to stop vandalism
The metal chain-link fence that went up along the bikepath in the North
Glen last week was meant to deter potential vandals who are trampling
and trashing that area of the Glen. Glen Helen Ecology Institute Executive
Director Bob Whyte said he hopes the fence will temporarily reduce the
abuse of the Glens property and spark a dialogue among local residents
about long-term solutions to promote the Glens welfare.
Its too bad it seems only drastic measures will get peoples
attention, Whyte said. I want to get the community involved
in talking about this because its just one of the issues of concern.
The Greene County Sheriffs Department contacted the Glen Ecology
Institute recently about an increase in car break-ins, particularly in
the Clifton Gorge and Glen Helen parking lots on State Route 343. So far
this year 16 theft cases from those parking lots have been reported, said
Major Harden of the Sheriffs office. The department handles an average
of 20 theft cases in that area a year, he said. The thefts most often
occur during the holidays, Harden said.
As a crime prevention measure, the Ecology Institute will now close the
Glen Helen parking lot on State Route 343 at 4:30 p.m.
I want to stress that were not trying to minimize visitors
or keep people out of the Glen, but we want to ensure that the people
who come can have a safe visit, Whyte said.
This includes visitors who use the area near the Caboose Bike & Skate,
where local youth have been hanging out for years and where the fence
Whyte said he is concerned about that part of the North Glen because visitors
who go there leave liquor bottles, cigarette butts, and trash behind.
He has also noticed evidence of people starting fires and bludgeoning
trees throughout the area. The metal fence is intended to reduce traffic
to that part of the Glen.
If they at least were respectful of the land we wouldnt care
that they hang out there, Whyte said. But enough is enough.
The fence is just a step to limit Glen access points and help us monitor
the Glen better.
The number of people who visit the Glen is not the problem, Whyte said,
its the way the property is used. Visitors dont always follow
the regulations that are set up to protect the Glen, he said. Some people
continue to let their dogs off their leashes or ride horses in the South
Glen, defying signs and explicit instructions prohibiting such activities.
I love that people love the Glen, but there is a sense that the
community owns it and therefore that community members dont have
to follow the rules, Whyte said.
He encourages people who use the Glen to work with him to decide what
is best for the nature preserve and its visitors.
Whyte said the response to the new fence has been moderate and that more
people seem to support the effort than object to it. Ive gotten
surprisingly little response, he said.
But he said he hopes to work with local residents to make the best of
the situation. The Ecology Institute plans to organize a community effort
in the spring to add greenery along the fence to make it more aesthetically