I grew up in Clarkstown and have been going to Rockland Lake just about my entire life. I like to park in the vicinity of the Rockland Lake firehouse and hike with my dog on the famous Long Path or to take him swimming in the Hudson River.
Recently a new crop of no parking anytime signs appeared on the adjacent town roads of Collyer Avenue and Landing Road. After a little investigating I was able to discover that these signs were approved by the Clarkstown Town board during the meeting of July 13, 2013 following a request for them by the Rockland Lake Fire Department. I also understand there will be a review of these signs by the Traffic and Fire Safety Advisory Board on Monday September 9th at 7:30 PM in Room 301 which all people that hike in this area should attend and make a public comment along with the Clarkstown Board meeting of Tuesday September 10th at 8pm.
As a former Marine and a retired NYPD Sergeant I do not like to trivialize the size, importance, or operation of the Rockland Lake Fire department because I know first-hand that terrible events can happen anywhere at any time. Any first responder can be called upon to be a hero at a moment’s notice.
Since these recently posted signs now unfairly eliminate all street parking in the vicinity of tiny Rockland Lake firehouse for hikers and local residents this question must be asked. After one hundred and fifty years of existence why does the Rockland Lake firehouse suddenly require a quarter mile of no parking anytime signs posted on both sides of adjacent town streets? Surly this entire situation can be remedied by modifying this sign request to only one side of the streets involved.
On the Clarkstown website the notes from the previous Traffic and Fire Safety Advisory Board meeting of Jun 3rd show that Christopher Martone, a member and previous candidate for the County Legislature District Nine in which his 1,658 votes were not enough to defeat Chris Carey with 2,204 votes, said that he counted thirteen cars and that hikers park there to avoid the Rockland Lake parking lot fees.
I believe that is an outrageous statement considering Field Two, the closest lot is a half mile away and usually closed. How far are hikers expected to walk before reaching the quiet solitude of the woods?
One would expect our local officials to be looking out for the best interests of local residents but once again this is not the case considering a few years ago the Clarkstown Board actually paid a local landscaper thousands of tax payer dollars to build berms at the intersection of Lake Road and New York State highway 9W effectively preventing local residents from avoiding the parking fee by parking across the highway from the entrance of Rockland Lake North.
The fact of the matter is that every outdoor season local residents are disenfranchised from the state parks. On weekends they are crowded with people from the city whom I do like to see enjoy the parks even though what follows is week of cleanup that I compliment state employees for. However seven days a week from 8am until 6pm an $8 per vehicle fee is charged. That might be justified for Jones Beach or Niagara Falls, but certainly not Rockland Lake. All parking fees used to end on Labor Day but the weekend fee is now collected into November creating an additional burden for those participating in charity events which are losing popularity at Rockland Lake during the fall because of these parking fees.
The fact that these lots are virtually vacant except for being half full on weekends is poor perennial management on New York State’s part because if the rates were reasonable and adjusted during the week and weekends park attendance would increase and actually increasing total revenue.
As a child I remember the state parking lots being full because management was simply better and smarter. We actually swam in Rockland Lake and then the pools when they opened.
What has happened to hiker parking behind Rockland Lake is an outrage and we are being denied access to these trails unfairly. Matthew I. Brennan (845) 641-1882