TOWAMENSING TWP., Pa. -- Many remain concerned about the future of Beltzville State Park as the litter continues to pile up.

"[People are] destroying the area," Lori Sterner of Beltzville said, "...it's out of control out of control."

For months now, park officials have been limiting the number of people inside the park because of the pandemic. Just last Friday, state conservation officials announced more changes for the park, including bringing in even more dumpsters, providing trash bags to visitors and installing new gates and barriers to restrict access to undesignated areas.

So far, many visitors said they don't think these extra protocols have done much to reduce the amount of trash.

"They're just gonna dump the trash where they want it anyhow, they have no respect," Sterner said.

Park officials explained that this time of year, they have plenty of out-of-towners traveling hours just to come to the park

Some visitors over the weekend reported coming from as far away as New York and Connecticut.

Many community members said they believe allowing those from out of state into the park is only contributing to the problem. "I would say 99 percent of those are from out of state or out of town that just don't care," Beltzville State Park Concerned Citizens member Christopher Poplin said.

Last week, State Representative Doyle Heffley called for people from out of state to be largely banned, but Park officials responded that they cannot restrict entry to only Pennsylvania residents, because while the property is managed for recreation by the state it is owned by the Army Corps of Engineers.

"When state parks were created they were created for everyone they were created for everybody," Park Manager Alma Holmes explained.

Some locals said they think another solution could be charging an entry fee for all visitors entering the park. "The fair way is to charge admission," Sterner said.

"We need to seriously crack down on laws, get more people in there, make it safer for people," Poplin added.

Holmes said at this point the best solution will be encouraging visitors to pick up after themselves, to help keep the park beautiful.

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