QUEENSBURY — City of Glens Falls leaders have asked for stepped-up police patrols of the city watershed property after a series of parties by trespassers that included a huge bonfire earlier this month.
The Warren County Sheriff’s Office plans to use four-wheelers to better access the thousands of acres of woods that surround the Glens Falls reservoirs on the west side of town. Glens Falls leaders have asked for those who are caught on the property to be ticketed for trespass, but Warren County Sheriff Bud York said charges will be filed at the officers’ discretion.
The new effort comes after a party near Wilkie Reservoir the weekend of June 10 that led to a police response and a discovery of 17 to 20 burning wooden pallets in a bonfire.
Steve Gurzler, the Glens Falls engineer who oversees the Water Department, said the party required an extensive cleanup that involved assistance from the Queensbury Highway Department. He said the incident has prompted the addition of more posted signs to the property, and a request for more police “assistance” to keep trespassing under control.
“Everyone would love to use the woods, but we have to worry about the water,” Gurzler said. “There have been some large parties and fires left burning with large piles of refuse. We have to keep it under control.”
The effort won’t just focus on partiers, as no one is supposed to use the watershed properties, which include the woodlands around Halfway Brook Reservoir off Potter, Dixon and Peggy Ann roads.
A public trail is planned through the Halfway Brook property, but the city of Glens Falls and town of Queensbury are still working on an agreement for it.
“If you are going to be there, even if you are mom with the kids and Rover, you are likely to get ticketed,” Gurzler said.
Police said there were 20 or so people at the party with the pallet bonfire, and all were breath-tested for alcohol use and none were found to have been drinking. The officer who responded had to go to another emergency call during his response to the party, so no one was charged.
Warren County sheriff’s Lt. Peter DiFiore said the Sheriff’s Office will have patrols go through the property when they are available.