Busy Sunday on the river
As potentially dangerous overcrowding continues at sites along the Housatonic River and at ponds and lakes in the county, Senior Reporter Patrick L. Sullivan has begun to keep a log of observations of river usage. This log only reflects the moments when he was on or near the river and is not a complete list of usage.
Visitors continued to come to the Great Falls of the Housatonic River in Salisbury and Falls Village last weekend, despite the area being officially closed.
On Saturday, July 25, at 1:30 p.m., there were two cars parked at the Appalachian Trail entrance on the Salisbury side of the bridge between the Amesville section of Salisbury and Falls Village.
Farther along Housatonic River Road there were 10 cars, mostly south of Sugar Hill Road.
There were no people or cars in the First Light picnic and boat launch area, and the sawhorses and caution tape that had been recently put up were still there; in the first days after they were put up, visitors had pushed them aside.
On the Falls Village side, in a shaded area by the bridge, there were half a dozen cars parked. There was a picnic in progress, and people in bathing suits getting ready to go to the river.
Farther south along Water Street, the Appalachian Trail parking lot was empty and the sawhorse/caution tape barriers undisturbed.
Along River Road in Cornwall, which parallels much of the Housatonic Trout Management Area, there were three cars at the Push ’Em Up parking area. but nobody was visible in the river.
At the Cellar Hole on Route 7 in Sharon, there were six cars and some people swimming.
Sunday the crowds were larger. Again, starting at 1:30 p.m., the picnic/boat launch area was empty, although one of the sawhorses blocking the parking area was partially knocked over.
From the Appalachian Trail entrance to the junction of Housatonic River Road and Sugar Hill Road, there were 10 cars parked wherever the drivers could find a plausible space. Halfway between the bottom of the hill and Sugar Hill Road a state trooper was parked, and seemed to be having a conversation with a family group.
North of Sugar Hill Road, there were 15 cars parked on both sides of Housatonic River Road, and people were making their way down the hill with coolers and other picnic supplies.
On the Falls Village side, the area next to the bridge held seven cars and two motorcycles. Downtown, there was a van with a trailer carrying kayaks.
Downstream at the Cellar Hole there was a large group of picnickers and swimmers, with 16 cars shoehorned into the small lot. There was music, cookouts were in progress, and someone set up a tent next to the parked cars on the south side of the lot.
In the park, there were four pop-up tents with picnics in progress and a total of 19 cars. One angler, despite the heat and high water temperatures, was spotted donning waders prior to setting out. A state park employee, who declined to speak on the record, was keeping an eye on things.
The Bend had five cars, including two anglers in waders, but no swimmers.
At the Abutments, the next named fishing access point downstream from Push ’Em Up, there were five cars crammed into a space that normally accommodates at most three vehicles. A family had set up a charcoal grill on the rocky bank and were swimming and playing with inflatable devices.
There were 11 cars at Push ’Em Up, spilling out of the designated parking area and there was music, cooking, swimming.
Back by the falls, at 2:45 p.m. the area next to the bridge on the Falls Village side now held about 20 cars, with a couple leaving and a couple arriving. People could be seen, from the bridge, in the water at Furnace Rock upstream, despite a vigorous flow.