Barberville Falls closed for summer

Barberville Falls

Beautiful. And for this summer, closed to the public.

The Nature Conservancy is closing public access to the Barberville Falls in Rensselaer County this summer because it says people aren't following the rules there. From the org's press release:

Despite effort to prohibit swimming and other activities not allowed at the preserve, misuse of the preserve and disrespect for the preserve neighbors continues to be a problem.
"The decision to close the preserve, especially during the summer months, is a difficult one," said Rick Werwaiss, executive director, The Nature Conservancy Eastern New York Chapter. "In past years, the Conservancy has hired a security force, utilized volunteers, and had staff on site to patrol the preserve. Despite our efforts to discourage and control the misuse of the property, the problem has persisted and we feel closure is the only option currently available to us."
Closing the preserve will give the police the ability to strictly and consistently enforce the recurring issues of trespass, disturbing the peace, littering, swimming and climbing on the falls, and alcohol consumption.

The Nature Conservancy owns one side of the falls -- the other side is owned by a private homeowner. And as we found out when writing about the falls a few summers back, the homeowner is very serious about people not cutting across their property to reach the falls. That's understandable -- we wouldn't want hordes of people walking through our backyard all summer, either.

The conservancy says access to the falls will be closed from Memorial Day until Labor Day.

The whole situation is unfortunate. It really is a beautiful spot.

Earlier on AOA: Capital Region waterfall walks

photo: Sebastien Barre

Find It

Barberville Falls
Plank Road and Blue Factory Road
Poestenkill, NY 12140


Man, that sucks. I'm glad I got to go last summer. It's too bad that people's bad behavior has led to this. :-(

That sucks. Swimming there is great.
I'll probally still go out there

This weekend (fri, sat, sun) its still open. Not closed untill Monday. Get out there and enjoy.

How sadly ironic that I should read this while writing a paper on ethics, civil responsibility, and how abuse of freedoms can lead to loss of liberty.

I had planned to take my daughters to see the falls for the first time this summer.

That's terrible. :(

Classic 'Tragedy of the Commons' situation.

Would someone please make a list of swimming holes in the area? Aside from the Victoria Pools, every other pool might as well be children-only, and I am far from Saratoga. It would be the best list ever.

@jen..Not sure I would want to share my favorite swimming hole locations on a public web site. Next thing you know, they're crawling with people and litter, and before you know what happened it's closed for the summer...just like Battenkill Falls. And that would be a shame.

Shame on the Nature Conservacy for this Nazi like overreaction to a few rule violators. I refuse to believe "closure is the only option". I've been at the falls for several hours, twice the last two weeks and have seen none of these stated violations occuring. The Nature Conservacy is behaving like eco-dictators 'conserving' the Falls from us icky-poo humans, some of who have enjoyed the Falls since we were kids. I will never support the Nature Conservacy efforts again, and in our Rensselaer County, I will fight their future expansion into areas like the Taconic ridge. Another free source of bliss in Nature being removed from the public's enjoyment, and during a depression no less. After all the history of joy there, long before the so called Nature Conservacy assumed control, "closure is the only option" - what a crock of eco-dictatorship.

@Tim: you may have lost a few people at "Nazi"...

I'm sure they will spend more resources enforcing "trespassers" to now-closed falls than they did when people jumped in water every now and then. What a waste!

Stopped reading at "nazis." Really? REALLY?

I'm surprised they didn't try a low tech, bright orange dummy camera mounted high in a tree. ;)

Also, while I certainly feel for the neighbors, they purchased the property knowing that they would be sharing a border with the public.

9 comments to "nazi". Poorly played Mr. Raab. I'm sure the private owner - note, p-r-i-v-a-t-e - had had enough of certain icky-poo humans. (We can say icky-poo here?)

The point is this (and, if I understood him/her correctly, "S" made it in a response to the original post from 2010): places like Barberville Falls should not be privatized, indeed; cannot truly be privatized.

"Objects" of natural beauty like Barberville transcend the limiting connotation of the word "object." Barberville Falls is essentially public because it is a naturally occurring sort of a thing that is good for humans to interact with, but not just as they please. Instead, places like this instill awe and wonder in many (if not most or dare I say it, "all") of us. This turn in generates a sense of respect for nature and our place within it. Not to mention, human experience of nature in the industrialized countries (I think we are candidates for a new category--"de-industrializing") is abysmal, so much so that scientists/doctors have dubbed it "nature-deficit disorder." It need not be medicalized--just go to the Falls if you suffer from this civilization-induced ailment (along with other ADD, anxiety, and depression) and you will be on your way back to recovery (not "adjustment"; after all, just why should we adjust to this state of affairs again?).

Not for profits like the Nature Conservancy trouble me with their means and logic, even if their ends are good: we can protect the public from itself, on its behalf, better than the people themselves can do it. This is often part of the inadvertent and not-so-inadvertent logics of not for profits everywhere, and it is essentially elitist. Ends do not justify means here, for who polices the policeman?

Also, @ Andrew Gregory: spelling "private," "p-r-i-v-a-t-e," undermines your point to the non-mouth breathers among us about as much as Mr. Raab's hyperbolic employment of the word "nazi." "Poorly played" indeed.

What a shame for the public to loose out on this gorgeous spot because of some ruining it for everyone else. If it will be policed to enforce the ban, then why not hire a gate keeper to sell tickets which would bring in money for maintenance and up keep? We've enjoyed visiting it several times in the last year. So disappointing that we are banned from enjoying it this summer.
A sad day.

Is the falls closed this year as well?? Someone said they thought it was closed indefinately? Is that right? I certainly hope not... I was planning on scheduling trip there in a few weeks.

Thur.Oct 3rd the Albany times union posted a pix with reference to "Fall hike to the falls".so are we to assume it is open now?

It's open, I was there two weeks back and it had just re-opened. If you wait for a day after some rain it is pretty spectacular.

Why is swimming prohibited by law at a state-owned natural resource?! There should be signs saying it is dangerous to swim and at your own risk. End of story.

Closing this state park to the public which exists because of our taxes is just plain SILLY.

It's a nature preserve owned by the nature conservancy. It's not a state park. It doesn't "exist because of our taxes." It's sad that people can't be responsible enough for TNC to feel they can allow continuous use throughout the summer. There are other places to swim in the summer. If you need to see the falls, go back when they are open.

We are one of the nearby property owners. Owned and been paying property and school taxes for the 51 years we've been here --long before TNC took ownership of the falls. That's actually when the problems began. Imagine virtually every weekend having cars parking on your property, littering the roadway, and being awakened at midnight by some of the
"nature lovers" climbing up out of the falls with their coolers,
drunk as hell, shouting, smashing bottles on the blacktop, urinating behind shrubs on your property, then speeding off
obviously driving while intoxicated! It has been this very behavior that has caused the wrath of residents in close proximity to the falls. And indeed well justified! Unfortunately the very goal of TNC - the preservation of natural beauty, is
disrespected by the irresponsible. The exact opposite goal of
The Nature Conservancy - that is the trashing of the falls and the private property rights of the fall's neighbors began with TNC's "advertising" the Barberville Falls as a destination spot.
So those among you who obey the regulations are indeed being denied what would otherwise seem to be a reasonable freedom. Now you know how those who are law abiding owners of firearms feel. In both instances, it's the irresponsible, and those with no regard for either the law or their fellow earth brethern who spoil things for all.

Best Regards to all who are Reasonable.

@Gary: are you the same owner who yelled at a group of local nature photographers wanting to take pictures of this beautiful natural resource this past weekend? Then proceeded to hang a disgraceful tarp at the top of the falls that read something about owning half the fall? HALF OF A WATERFALL?? Funny how climbing and littering the falls is convenient sometimes.

And you are comparing this to owning a firearm? What is wrong with you. It's a shame that the TNC caved to your pressure and closed it. The main reason people are parking on the side of the road is that directions to the appropriate (tiny) parking location are non-existent, the last time I checked. Access to the falls from the sanctioned parking lot is actually a lot easier, and doesn't go anywhere near your side, if only people knew about it. But I can already guess how long a "Parking to the falls, this way" sign would last, right?

TNC would love you to believe that one family is responsible for the summer closing of the falls when in fact, in recent years the falls has become such a problem to them that they are now trying to rid themselves of it. When have you ever heard of one person having any impact whatsoever on such a massive world wide organization. The "disgraceful tarp" was put up in desperation after years of disrespectful trespassing and after asking members of the photo. club to leave our side and being completely ignored - cctions that you yourself and no one else in your club would tolerate on your own properties. In fact, I am aware (and have the e-mail) to club members that no one was to cross over to the privately owned half (not side) of the falls. Let me be clear about this. My family has owned not just the bordering property, but to the center of the creek bed, including that half of the falls. TNC is very aware of this. This has been the case for over 60 years. It is clearly marked on deeds and surveys both recent and from time of purchase. We do not want anyone injuring themselves from climbing, jumping, or slipping of the rocks on our side. Life in the summers has been hell before the closing - not only from constant noise into the night and littering, but people walking right through the yard, seeing an easier path to the water, physical assault, broken glass on our side from bottles being thrown across just to hear them smash. We have cleaned up bags of garbage (including condoms and dirty pampers). The public posting of pictures (many taken from our side) and the widespread invitations to the falls have turned the falls from a quiet spot where anyone was welcome who showed the decency of respect to a tourist attraction, one where illegal and dangerous parking is frequent and local people (to whom you have shown such disdain) have been significantly inconvenienced. We have now been maligned in public forums for only asking for respect of property. What was once a quiet life has turned into not being able to be in your own yard without having to confront strangers, having people yell comments when just trying to be out gardening, lawn mowing, etc. We have been called essentially "inbreds" - actually that may have been you. So
please get your facts straight before spreading false ideas to your "followers". We have never had a problem with visitors to the falls accessing it appropriately from TNC property, not acting like animals and bringing their cans, bottles, etc. back up. TNC tried to monitor during the summer months, but found it impossible for some reason to do so. The falls is a burden to TNC - an attractive hazard. They have mistakenly advertised it as completely their own and described us as "bordering neighbors" so I can understand the confusion. Be aware, however, the public posting of photographs has made the situation worse for all. May on them obviously taken via trespassing to the private side.

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