Protecting the Kaaterskill Clove is not only an environmental priority. It is an ethical and economic imperative as well.

So last week, Hunter town officials met with the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the state Department of Transportation and state police to develop a strategy to stop overcrowding at Kaaterskill Clove.

In other words, the defiling of Kaaterskill Clove, one of the most beautiful spots in all of the Twin Counties, is rightly being blamed on human pollution.

Human pollution is an old term used to describe the damage people can inflict on the environment by activities such as littering, abandoning piles of trash in parks or forests and dumping toxic substances from detergents to human waste into streams and creeks.

Zoe Moore of Catskill, founder of Friends of Kaaterskill Clove, drives up Route 23A through the Clove on her way to work each day, and picks up garbage on her way home. This is what it has come to.

“It’s not just trash but it’s the overuse,” she said last week. “That road has eroded. People don’t care about the parking signs, they rip them down. I’ve been leaving 20 to 30 minutes early because of all the people and the cars. It’s gotten out of hand.”

Even a simple act such as littering hampers enjoyment of this nature-rich area. And if the litter is toxic, it can endanger birds and other wildlife that eat it as they forage for food. One photo we’ve seen features what appears to be a discarded COVID-19 face mask lying on a rock. Who wants to go near that? What hiker wants to come across it? Garbage left on a trail minimizes the environmental and aesthetic pleasure, ensuring that word-of-mouth will discourage hikers from walking the Clove.

That, in turn, means a blow to a local economy that depends on hikers and other visitors for revenue, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In short, protect Kaaterskill Clove, protect the flora and the wildlife, protect the aesthetic and environmental impact and protect the beauty for the people who come to enjoy it. With public outcry, administrative common sense and respectful behavior from visitors, there is no reason the Friends of Kaaterskill Clove can’t achieve its goal.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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