PORT CLINTON, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A popular recreation area along the Schuylkill River has been the site of many deaths over the years. And now, officials are taking action by closing it. Eyewitness News reporter Haley Bianco fills us in on the dangers of trespassing at Peace Rock.
The area along the Schuylkill River and Kernsville Dam is known by many as Peace Rock. It falls between Schuylkill and Berks counties. It’s always been a popular attraction; many liking the risk of jumping off the rocks.
“This year, due to social media and viral videos, we had a huge influx of people coming. Hundreds on week days, and on the weekends we had about 600 people coming on both sides, and it was just getting to the point that something had to be done,” said Chief William McEllroy of Tilden Twp. Police.
Starting now, the site is closed to the public. This decision was made by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
“Inappropriate activities have been safety issues. And there have been death issues here in the past and we want to eliminate any future deaths,” said Tod Wood, an engineer manager with the DEP.
“We have about a drowning a year here,” said McEllroy.
With social media attention bringing in more people, there has been an increase in injuries and deaths. The influx of people has also brought more alcohol related crimes, assaults and litter control issues to both sides of the river. To put a stop to it, police and DEP have posted about 25 no trespassing signs.
“Simply put, do not come here,” said McEllroy.
As of Thursday, all signs have been posted.
“If people come here they’re going to get arrested for criminal trespassing. If they brought their vehicle it will be towed and they’ll also be charged with trespass by motor vehicle,” said McEllroy.
DEP officials also took down a rope swing. More signs and a gate will be put up within the next month. Police departments on both sides of the river say they do plan to step up patrols to enforce the new signs.