Trash Trouble on Appalachian Trail

Garbage is piling up at Bulls Bridge Gorge, but it's unclear who is supposed to clean it up.

By Chris Coffey
|  Monday, Aug 13, 2012  |  Updated 3:31 PM EDT
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The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters investigate the jurisdictional loophole that leaves volunteers to pick-up the never ending flow of garbage on the Appalachian Trail.

The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters investigate the jurisdictional loophole that leaves volunteers to pick-up the never ending flow of garbage on the Appalachian Trail.

A beloved Connecticut park is being overrun with trash.  Just who is supposed to keep it clean is uncertain.
 
There is no doubting the beauty of Bulls Bridge Gorge along the Housatonic River in Kent.  It welcomes visitors from across the state.  It is part of the world-famous Appalachian Trail.  But a trash pile growing on the trail was an unwelcome guest.

  "Words can't describe it," said Jim Malumphy, a volunteer who helps the National Park Service maintain the trail.
 
Malumphy said the volunteers are being overwhelmed by the trash.  He said weekends now bring hundreds of park-goers to the trail and the river.
 
Visitors are asked to carry out what they carry in, but many visitors don't appear to be listening.
 
"People come and they just think that because there's garbage here, they can add theirs to it," Malumphy said.
 
The mess horrified officials in Kent, who said they would have closed the site but it was unclear who had jurisdiction on the federal land.
 
The town owns the bridge and the road next to the park.  The National Park Service owns the land and a spokesperson told the NBC Connecticut's Troubleshooters it just learned of the severity of the trash situation.
 
"I think somehow we've got to work out a management plan with the people that are here locally," Malumphy said.
 
Since the Troubleshooters visited the area in question, the National Park Service arranged for a dumpster to be delivered and volunteers helped clean up the area. 
 
However, Kent first selectman Bruce Adams said there is still no long-term plan to keep the litter from piling again.
 
Local, state and federal officials met this week to discuss the issue.  Adams said the general consensus is most people seem to agree police enforcement would help.  But it's not known who would provide the officer and no promises have been made.

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