Facebook deters trespassing at Rock
Tilden Township Police continue to cite people for criminal trespass at The Rock and the Kernsville Dam Recreational Area in Tilden Township.
The department has taken to social media in hopes of deterring people from trespassing in the area.
“In 2016, many visitors to the Rock were not only using social media to look up the place prior to their visit, but they also posted photos and videos on social media after their visit,” Tilden Township Police Chief William J. McEllroy III tells The Hamburg Item. “In trying to get the word out in any way possible about the closing, we wanted to use social media as a free way to reach the masses.”
He said Facebook and Instagram were used to post photos of the signs and mention the high fines.
“Many people young and old use social media to get their news. We wanted to make sure that we were getting our mes-
sage out on social media and not just traditional media platforms such as newspapers,” said McEllroy.
The department asks people to share information posted on social media in an effort to further get the word out, posting on the Tilden Township Police Department Facebook page, “The area is clearly posted with multiple No Trespassing signs in both English and Spanish including at the yellow gate in Lot 1.”
Posts include photos of the No Trespassing signs and an aerial photo with the No Trespassing areas marked, photo courtesy of Blue Mountain Wildlife.
According to the department Facebook page, Lot 1, otherwise known as the monument lot, is open to the public for parking. The Bartram Trail, Therma Madiera Trail, Cabela’s Wetland Trail are open to the public for recreational use except for motor vehicles.
“PA DEP has posted even more signs this year to aid in enforcement,” Tilden Police post on Facebook.
Despite No Trespassing signs, people continue to trespass at The Rock and the Kernsville Dam Recreational Area, which are both closed to the public.
McEllroy reports that so far this year, 45 people have been cited for criminal trespass at this property.
There were a total of 10 people cited for criminal trespass on May 19.
On May 19 at 12: 30 p. m., one adult from West Reading was stopped and will be cited for Criminal Trespass after being found at Lot 2 of the Kernsville Dam Recreation Area. At 12: 40 p. m., one adult from Shoemakersville was stopped and will be cited for Criminal Trespass after being found just south of Lot 2 of the Kernsville Dam Recreation Area. At 3: 01 p. m., four adults from Penn Argyl, Coplay, Orefield, and Hellertown were stopped and will be cited for Criminal Trespass after being found swimming at the Kernsville Dam.
Also on May 19, at 3: 25 p. m., two adults from West Chester were stopped in a vehicle on Kernsville Dam Road at Lot 2. One of the occupants had opened up the unlocked gate while officers were inside the area checking on trespassers. Both will be cited for Criminal Trespass and the driver will be cited for Trespass by Motor Vehicle.
At 4: 02 p. m., two adults from Chadds Ford were stopped near Lot 2 of the Kernsville Dam Recreation Area wearing swim suits. Both will be cited for Criminal Trespass.
On May 20 at 2: 25 p. m., four adults f rom East Earl were found walking on Kernsville Dam Road north of Lot 1. They advised the officers that they had been fishing at the Rock. They stated that they knew about the No Trespassing signs but continued onto the property anyway. All four will be cited for Criminal Trespass.
“A valid concern of the department, and I think residents, is that enforcing the trespassing is taxing on the resources of the department. Residents are concerned that we will not be elsewhere in the township when needed,” McEllroy tells The Hamburg Item. “What we are asking residents to understand is that we have a duty to not ignore this area. We will respond to calls at the Kernsville Dam Recreation Area the same as we would another location in the township. However, that does not mean that we will ignore the rest of the township. The Kernsville Dam Recreation Area is certainly an area of focus, but not the sole focus.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, who owns and manages the property, added a new larger sign recently at Lot 1 of the Kernsville Dam Recreation Area to remind people that they can not go beyond that point.
“We are asking that people simply obey the signs and not trespass,” said McEllroy to The Hamburg Item. “If someone witnesses trespassing, we ask that they call the police who can then check on that. We are also asking people to not report trespassing at the Rock via Facebook. The patrol officers do not get notified of posts on Facebook and will not be able to respond in a timely manner.”
To report trespassing, call Tilden Township Police at 610- 655- 4911.
The public is encouraged to contact Tilden Township Police if after consulting the map and they are still unsure of where they not allowed to be. Call the department at 610- 562- 9001.
Blue Mountain Wildlife Inc. maintains the trails in the Kernsville Dam Recreation Area.
“We are continually concerned with the trespassing,” said Gregg Adams, director and secretary of Blue Mountain Wildlife Inc. “So long as there is a significant number of people willing to ignore the signs and the law, we can’t see that PA DEP will be willing to reverse its policies and open the area up to the public again.”
Adams notes that Blue Mountain Wildlife volunteers are still collecting and bringing out trash from the area closed to the public.
“Some weeks we are bringing out amounts equal to that which we were collecting last spring, before the area was closed to the public,” said Adams. “We are hoping that the efforts of local law enforcement and PA DEP to increase awareness of the closing of the area to the public will pay off and keep the area quieter, safer and cleaner this summer.”
Adams said Blue Mountain Wildlife asks everyone to respect the law and keep to the areas open to the public.
“There is still plenty of publicly- accessible land at the Kerny to enjoy.”
Blue Mountain Wildlife would like to thank those who have continued to support their efforts to maintain and improve the area.
“There is still much to do in the areas still open to the public,” said Adams. “We also understand that there are many in our community and beyond our community who are angry and upset with the closing of much of the area to the public. We ask them to respect the law and the Kerny and be patient until a solution is reached that will allow the area to be reopened to the public.”
For concerns on why this area is closed to the public, please contact PA DEP BAMR at 717- 783- 2267. If you are interested in participating in any of the authorized public events coordinated by Blue Mountain Wildlife, please contact them at Info@ bluemountainwildlife. com.
The department asks people to share information posted on social media in an effort to further get the word out, posting on the Tilden Township Police Department Facebook page, “The area is clearly posted with multiple ‘ No Trespassing’ signs .
Aerial photo with the No Trespassing areas marked for the Kernsville Dam Recreational Area in Tilden Township.