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Crowds, activities and garbage dumping closes Little Bluff to vehicles

Effective July 24, 2020, the road into, and the parking lot at Little Bluff Conservation Area will be closed to vehicles. Pedestrian use of the area is permitted. Parking on municipal roads to access Little Bluff is not encouraged.

“The natural ecology of Little Bluff Conservation Area has become a growing concern as residents and visitors flock to the area in an attempt to spend more time in nature during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Kirsten Geisler, communications with Quinte Conservation.

The conservation area, which provides panoramic views of Prince Edward Bay and is home to a significant wetland that is protected by a cobble stone beach, has always been a popular spot for locals, and over the last few years, the area has become a destination site for visitors.

Conservation Areas are protected lands that are available for the public to enjoy, but Geisler notes overuse can have a negative impact on the ecology of an area.

“Recent reports of overcrowding on the beach where individuals were not able to meet the two metre physical distancing requirements, and non-permitted activities such as garbage dumping, campfires, and overnight camping have led the Conservation Authority to temporarily restrict access.”

Nature enthusiasts may still walk into the area and are encouraged to report back to Quinte Conservation if they have concerns.

Quinte Conservation is a community-based environmental protection agency. It serves 18 municipalities in the watersheds of the Moira, Napanee and Salmon Rivers and Prince Edward County.

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. As a resident of the county since the mid 60’s I have watched the changes ,and can see the obvious errosion of this place many of us call home.understanding that change is inevitable, the degree of impact Must be controlled. the slow stream of new people over the last 20 yrs has been more or less unnoticed and conducive to what you might call normal assimilation, however the massive influx of summertime users is in the last 2-3 years has become untenable and the afformentioned comments are proof that measures must be put in place.I have watched my property taxes increase to an astronomical rate over the last decade and still cannot see the value for it. maybe our council could earmark a small portion of our tax dollars to have a study done on how to control our tourist problem, I know they like spending money on studies.The situation will only get worse and I as a tax paying resident EXPECT some action.

  2. Stewart Reed says:

    This situation is sad, & the index solution is more sad. Make a small parking lot at the entrance. charge a a fee to cover dawn to dusk access supervision. Post signs indicating a walking trail only. No pic nics, no day or night camping, no cooking. In view of the huge cliff drop, close the area dawn to dusk with a vehicle barrier in view of safety. Have OPP patrol at night & on call from day supervisors. From Easter to Labour Day. Let’s be creative for the sake of locals. A local visitor since 1966.

  3. Rob #2 says:

    Not to be labour an earlier comment of mine, but improper disposal of garbage/litter is not something that only tourists are doing.

    I’ve looked after the stretch of road along my property and a couple of kilometers through an area that has no residences. Traditionally this area was the worst, I could get 4 large garbage bags a year along here easily. This is a road that is nowhere near the tourist center of the County. We may see 300 cars a day, although that is just a guess.

    This summer has been the worst ever in terms of volume of roadside trash, including stuff thrown right out onto the lawns of homes….in the past they seemed to wait to unload in the area where there were no residences.

    My point being that there may be tourists who are ignorant enough to litter, but there sure are a lot of locals that do too. I am doubting that the tourists are relieving themselves in Gatorade bottles and leaving them along the roadway in November. I could go on.

    When you smile and converse with ten fellow County locals while out and about, some of whom will decry the tourists and their habits, chances are some of them have no qualms about chucking their trash out the car window either. I guess because they pay property tax here they feel some sick sense of entitlement.

    And obviously the kids are watching mom and dad, so they think it’s normal and the vicious circle continues.

    And I do feel a great deal of sympathy to those living near these tourist attractions, especially those who have lived there for decades.

  4. angela says:

    The tourists own the county and we are unable to enjoy it because of them. Their sheer numbers are intimidating. The people who built this county have been sold out and it is disgusting. The tourist operators and wineries love those tourist dollars but what do they rest of us get out of the invasion? Prince Edward County is no longer home, it is just a playground for summer visitors. Given a little more time they will destroy it. We need more police on the streets in Picton to break up these large groups of tourists who straggle along, unmasked without practising social distancing.

  5. MissP says:

    Just wait until next weekend – the August civic holiday for the mess we will be faced with. Potentially every dead end road that ends at a tiny pool of water will be lined with illegal parking and overnight camping. I know it would keep the OPP busy but if they are not working on more urgent matters, I beg them to visit these spots in the evening/night and direct people to leave. Honestly sometimes I don’t feel safe in my own home with the number of people illegally occupying ground they should not be on. Guess we could keep Shantz towing busy too with a tag and tow campaign. Our Roads Department needs to put up no parking, no overnight camping signs along with the stated fine and a tow away notice.

    I hope that our hardworking Councillors are reading these comments and escalate this issue for full and meaningful discussion around the horseshoe. A lot of tax-paying County residents have had enough! We don’t need more tourist accommodations, our roads cannot continue to take the abuse they are subject to by all these vehicles now. It is time for serious action now before things get worse – because, they will get worse.

  6. Susan says:

    Agree with all comments. My husband and I moved here in 2011 after discovering it years earlier on our bikes when visiting. Fell in love and eventually moved here. The first few years were paradise. It has been downhill ever since we were ‘discovered’. We used to love taking our dogs to Sandbanks to the dog beach and now would not even try to go! The tourists have taken away our paradise! At the same time we do need them, but the disrespect and abuse needs to stop.

  7. Mike Rodgers says:

    Because for the most part this area (PEC) is not super busy,Nov to end of May would it make sense to hire extra personal during the busy season to enforce the parking etc. Would it also not make sense to install a parking lot at the entrance to Little Bluff that would hold X number of cars, when full park closed until there is available space. Charge for entry and have a person on duty to collect monies for parking and to patrol the area. Also give actual county residents a free pass Mon to Fri to use this area. On that note Ontario is one of the few provinces that charge for entry into provincial parks, I think that the province let the residents here use the parks here free of charge Mon-Fri for what we have to go through on weekends.

  8. Doris lane says:

    We the tax payers pay out a lot of money on taxes to keep up the county so everyone but the locals can enjoy it
    It was a good idea if everyone entering the county, if not a resident, had to pay a toll.
    We can not enjoy the county now. Too Crowded with tourists

  9. Wolf Braun says:

    We should at every entry point to the County stop cars and demand a $50.deposit entry fee to the County. A receipt should be handed out. When they enter they are given 5 garbage bags with bar codes. When they leave they are reimbursed for each full bag that belongs to them. No full bags? Thx for your $50.

  10. JennyD says:

    Perhaps an action plan to study how and when to start turning people away from the county – and how to address negative impact/behaviors. First our infrastructure, then our taxes, now our conservation areas…..I’m not sure how bad things need to become before the county initiates stronger enforcement – hire more bylaw enforcement officers.

  11. Dennis Fox says:

    I honestly don’t mind having tourists visit here – but I do very much mind their huge numbers, resulting in my inability to enjoy my community at the best time of year. No, I don’t believe that I am exaggerating. I feel that if I don’t have my grocery shopping and town errands done by Friday morning – then forget it until Monday!

    I find going to Picton, Wellington or Bloomfield on summer weekends to be totally unpleasant with wall to wall people and no parking. Our parks, beaches, boat launches and campgrounds are overrun and as a resident and taxpayer I am beginning to wonder where we fit in and why are we paying for all of this?

    I have said on many occasions – other than the tourist businesses, local taxpayers do not benefit from this mob scene – I think it is about time we did. To date, our municipality has no method nor program in place to collect tourist dollars. Not having full access to our conservation areas, at this time of year, is a ridiculous outcome for what is supposed to be a tourist mecca. I think it is time for the locals and our council to find a real solution to this problem – and yes it is a problem.

  12. Sherri therrien says:

    I think they should check at the bridges and if you don’t have confirmation of a spot in the county you get turned away. The tourists can’t go to the states and PEC is the closest thing! Why wouldn’t they come here, beautiful beaches..but take your garbage with you!

  13. Susan says:

    County residents should not be negatively impacted as well. Tourism can be good but what we are experiencing is a total take over in providing a playground to others.

  14. Jen Ronan says:

    As a lifelong resident, who has enjoyed Little Bluff every summer, I am truly heartbroken and disappointed that our County will never be the same.
    Our peaceful paradise has been overrun by a thick influx of both tourists and an endless push for unmanaged growth.
    I am truly concerned about PEC’s ability to sustain all of these people. We have another new development announcement on Sandy Hook,. We have large developments at Port Picton and Curtis street. We still have a future development off John Street.

    I am truly disappointment that we have lost our community and I will have to come to terms that this is or new normal.

    I will truly miss you Little Bluff and I am so glad I got to raise my kids when the County was still a bit of a secret.

  15. JB says:

    Sadly the internet easily spreads news of these secluded spots far and wide and tourists quickly flock there. It’s the right decision to not have the area negatively impacted.

  16. JennyD says:

    Couldn’t be more disappointed. This county is my home and I love visiting these areas. I’m disturbed by the fact that this decision is the only remedy. Who will enforce it? And how? I hope everyone (locals and visitors) take serious note of this, because other favorite areas in the county could share the same fate. Good grief.

  17. Don Ross says:

    Not surprised to hear it’s come to this action as it was obviously out of control last weekend when I cycled out there to do our regular water testing for http://www.waterrangers.ca There were cars parked half way out to the main road, people tenting, beach almost as full as Sandbanks would be, and bags of garbage and other refuse/ beer cans tossed all around not just there but along the roadside ditches from there to Milford. Tourism has it’s dark side too!

  18. Mark says:

    A County destination for locals that was treated respectfully for years and years. Another huge loss for local residents.

  19. Paul and Diane Oxley says:

    We live just up the road from Little Bluff, it has always been a favourite site for walks and swims. We have noticed the increased number of people on the beach and the horrible amount of garbage-just yesterday we picked up a bag full of garbage (diapers and clothes included). It is too bad that some people have spoiled it for others. I hope this initiative helps. We look forward to a cleaner, quieter beach. It’s too bad that many locals will not be able to enjoy it due to lack of parking.

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