As pressure mounts from local residents and public officials to tame crowds at Beltzville State Park, DCNR is making several of what it calls "operational changes." But residents say park management needs to do more.
"The park is still chaos, even with the amount of additional resources, there's still a continuing problem," said Chris Poplin, a member of the Beltzville State Park Concerned Citizens group.
New measures include installation of gates, like the one recently put up off Evergreen Drive, to restrict areas to problem areas. Park management says more barriers are in the works.
7:00pm announcements are also now warning visitors to start cleaning up and departing.
"The locals really love their park and we've been doing what we can to increase the law enforcement presence, to clean up the park," said park manager Alma Holmes.
Law enforcement is being stepped up both on land and on the water, which park management agrees is needed.
"Safety is one of our number one issues," said Holmes.
The park continues to deal with illegal activity. This past weekend alone, state police filed multiple drug possession charges against people who were either at or en route to Beltzville.
"There was an increase in law enforcement this weekend. I don't see any changes in the amount of people that are still doing illegal activities though," said Poplin.
State Representative Doyle Heffley has called for Beltzville to be limited to Pennsylvania residents until the pandemic ends. His request is being backed by Carbon County commissioners.
"That is something that has not been done in the past at any time in the history of the state parks," said Holmes.
But Holmes says potential solutions are being investigated.
"The department is looking to see what can be done to limit the crowds at the park," she said.
DCNR says state park attendance across Pennsylvania was up more than a million visitors in May and June. Beltzville alone was up sixty percent in that time frame, and managers expect an even bigger increase when they take a look at July's numbers.