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Wolf invited to see Beltzville problems

The Carbon County Commissioners have officially sent an open invitation to Gov. Tom Wolf to visit Beltzville State Park on a weekend and see the problems that are happening for himself.

In a letter dated Aug. 3, the board voiced their concerns about the “continuing degradation of the visitor experience at Beltzville State Park.”

The commissioners said that they appreciate the recent addition of state personnel and resources in an attempt to regain control of the park, but feel it is just a “Band-Aid in a trauma situation.”

“The disgraceful conditions at Beltzville can’t be sufficiently understood through written correspondence, a staff briefing, a phone call, or even the multitude of news segments and articles that attest to our assessment of the situation,” the letter states. “Rather, only a visit to Beltzville State Park and a conversation with the concerned citizens of Carbon County will allow you to fully understand the enormity of the issue and the state’s dereliction in responding to this yearly cry for help by the elected officials of the more than 64,000 residents of Carbon County.”

The board commended the private residents who have answered the call to try to keep the park beautiful over the past several years, but noted that by doing so, the state has been getting lax in their responsibilities to the state park.

They scolded the state for not doing more and leaving this situation up to the county residents, including community fire police to monitor traffic.

“These volunteer first responders are already over laden with training requirements and emergency response while sacrificing scarce time they have for themselves and their families. How dare we ask more of them, their families and their loved ones,” the letter says.

The commissioners, on Thursday, briefly reiterated their stance, and said that they are hoping the letter will be the starting point in providing more resources at Beltzville State Park so it can be better managed.

Over the past several years, county residents have complained about the influx of out-of-state residents flocking to the park and how they leave their trash and cause problems.

The problem was compounded this year with the pandemic, and more trash has been noted in and around the forestry surrounding Beltzville.