Increased Tourism in Old Forge Causes Health and Safety Concerns

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OLD FORGE, N.Y. (WUTR-TV) — With many restrictions still in place for indoor activities, more and more people are choosing to spend their time outside. Old Forge is still getting a lot of traffic as a tourist destination.

“With the COVID pandemic we’ve been getting record numbers of hikers.” – Ronald Johnston, Town of Webb Chief of Police

And not just hikers. Chief Johnston says they’ve also seen more boating, golfing, and other recreational activities that can be done while staying socially distant outside.

“We’ve definitely seen since the schools have closed larger numbers of traffic and tourists coming in. A lot larger number of homes being rented privately because the state campgrounds are closed or open for short times only. I believe they only can have a campsite for maybe four days and they have to be socially distant so that there’s a campsite in the middle that’s open.” – Ronald Johnston, Town of Webb Chief of Police

Before hitting the trials, or getting out on the lake, the Chief says the local first responders are always there for the public, but for the most part, these first responders are at risk too.

“I’ve said this from day one, when you’re going up on bulb mountain or you’re going on a hike, keep in mind that when something happens you’re putting our first responders at risk. They’re volunteers, as we all know, COVID affects everyone and try to be responsible and keep our first responders safe as well.” – Ronald Johnston, Town of Webb Chief of Police

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