Not long ago, Hunter town officials said enough is enough and responded to a seemingly unstoppable trash problem with a series of dramatic remedies in and around Kaaterskill Clove and other hiking trails.

A similar situation, if on a smaller scale, is occurring at Hamlet Park in Hillsdale, where a carry-in, carry-out policy for trash is in effect. Residents, on the other hand, call the policy simply ineffective.

Last summer, blaming the trash problem on overuse of Kaaterskill Clove, a popular tourist destination, Hunter officials decided to strike at the source and announced a mitigation plan.

The town would invest in electronic ticketing software linking parking violations to a violator’s registration. An impound lot would be set up at town hall. A Hunter town police officer would be stationed there to release impounded vehicles once the owners paid the fee. A fee will be agreed upon between the multiple towing operators.

Hillsdale plans to install signs in Hamlet Park to inform the public about the trash policy. The signs will be posted as soon as they are available.

In one of those moves that often end in a result different from what was intended, trash cans were eliminated eight years ago because people were routinely putting their household garbage into park trash cans. But in a visit to the park Friday, Town Supervisor Christian Kersten noticed only one trash can, just one-third full.

There’s a bigger issue here. Similar to Kaaterskill Clove, Hamlet Park is not a dumping ground. A design for a Hamlet Park renovation project developed by the Hamlet Committee and Chazen Design consultants was approved at the February town board meeting. The park plan will address trash and maintenance needs to support increased use.

But it has to do more than address the problem. We’re just two days removed from Easter and summer doesn’t arrive for almost three months. This needs to get done soon, before the park enjoys it’s busiest time of year.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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