The town of Buxton has temporarily closed a popular park because of large gatherings and reports that people were throwing rocks and debris at boaters on the Saco River.

The decision to close Pleasant Point Park on Simpson Road was announced Friday after several weeks of increased disregard for park rules, including the use of alcohol, disregard for public property and dangerous parking practices on roads around the park, town officials said in a Facebook post.

Caretakers collected hundreds of cans and bottles left behind by visitors to Pleasant Point Park in Buxton last weekend. Photo courtesy of Buxton Police Department

“There have been large gatherings in violation of the state-mandated COVID-19 best practices and reports that park-goers are throwing rocks and other debris at those boating on the river,” said the statement from police Chief Troy Cline, Recreation Director Nicole Welch and Chad Poitras, chairman of the Board of Selectmen.

After last weekend, park caretakers cleaned up 336 beer cans and bottles, 92 soda cans, 21 liquor bottles, 15 rubber floats and multiple bags of trash. The town officials said the behavior “cannot be allowed to continue and will not be tolerated.”

The riverside park is a popular gathering spot for people who float down the river on inflatable floats and with swimmers who jump into the river from rope swings.

The park will be closed while town officials consider how to deal with the problems there. The gate has been locked and police will enforce the closure with criminal charges for those who ignore the mandate, town officials said.

The police department is seeking help from the Maine Warden Service to enforce rules and regulations on the river.

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