At a meeting on Thursday, June 11, the Three Lakes Council Board made the decision to close Long Pond Preserve, located on the west end of Lake Waccabuc on Mead Street, to all visitors until further notice.
The board announced the decision on Monday in an email from Janet Andersen, president of Three Lakes Council, citing several observed violations of the preserve’s rules as the reason for the closing.
The council’s announcement noted observations of a lack of social distancing, visitors parking illegally, bringing in boats, littering, vandalism and dogs off their leashes. As for vandalism, the Ms. Anderson reported a tree was cut down, brush was cleared in the preserve and a stone wall was torn down.
“None of these behaviors are acceptable,” Ms. Anderson said.
The announcement said that in the past the council has hired town police officers to limit illegal parking and monitor rules prohibiting boat use in the preserve. However, Ms. Anderson said that due to the pandemic, town police does not have enough staff to patrol the preserve.
“Without the ability to enforce basic rules, and given the behavior of preserve visitors, we felt we had no choice but to close the preserve,” Ms. Anderson said.
Lewisboro Police recommended to the council that closing the preserve would be the best option, and said that once the preserve is closed, police can enforce no trespassing. Ms. Anderson stated in the announcement that police will be enforcing the trespassing rules whether visitors walk onto the preserve or boat there.
Ms. Anderson thanked Lewisboro Police for their advice and partnership. In addition, she stated that the council has received support from Town Supervisor Peter Parsons to take action on this issue.
A closed sign was posted on Long Pond Preserve as of 1 p.m. Monday.
“This is not a decision any of us really wanted to make, but the actions of the people who have abused the preserve forced this tough call,” Ms. Anderson said.