Pleasant Point Park in Buxton remains closed until further notice. Robert Lowell / American Journal

BUXTON — Pleasant Point Park, shut down by the town of Buxton after it was repeatedly trashed last month by partying visitors, will likely will remain closed until after Labor Day.

About 50 people have been charged with trespassing at the closed park, Buxton Police Chief Troy Cline said. Police also have received reports of rocks being hurled from the park, off Simpson Road near Salmon Falls, at boaters on the Saco River.

“We are still charging trespassers as recent as last week,” Cline said Monday.

Closure signs are posted around the park. Robert Lowell / American Journal

Of those who have been charged, “100%” are non-Buxton residents, said Chad Poitras, chairperson of the Buxton Board of Selectman.

The park is clearly posted as closed with large signs. Entrance gates are chained, locked and wrapped with yellow police tape. Sawhorses placed along Simpson Road block parking near the park.

Cline said the police tape at park entrances is continuously being ripped down.

The 65-acre town park provides local access for swimming, kayaking and fishing on the Saco River, along with picnicking and hiking. It’s a popular area for youths to plunge into the river from rope swings.

It was shut down as of July 16 after several weeks of continued and 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.

After one weekend of inappropriate behavior at the park, right before it was closed, park caretakers picked up multiple bags of strewn trash, beer and soda cans, and liquor bottles. Large gatherings at the park also violated guidelines for social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Trash at Pleasant Point Park led to its closure last month. Courtesy of Buxton Police

“Probably we will keep it closed until after Labor Day,”  Poitras said this week. “We want people to enjoy the park but it’s got to be respected.”

Local police presence at the park has diminished trespassing recently, he said, but added that Buxton police have 100 miles of roads to cover and can’t be the park all the time. Police asked Maine Game Wardens to monitor the river, and Poitras said they have been patrolling the water.

“I know that these are difficult times with the hot weather and everyone wanting to cool off with a swim, however, I would ask that people don’t do it at Pleasant Point Park,” Cline said.

Poitras is asking residents to be patient. He said the park closure will be re-assessed by Labor Day and that he expects changes for next year.

“It’s been a challenge,” he said.

 

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