If a local attraction becomes so popular that it outgrows its parking lot, what should be done?
Warren Falls, one our Valley’s gems, has received a fair amount of national press in recent years and as a result, people are coming from far and wide to swim in its deep pools, jump off its tall rocks, play in the shallows and slide down the natural rock slide.
It is so popular that the 30-car parking lot fills up on a summer, weekend day in a heartbeat. People then park on the sides of the road. Before this parking lot was built, people only parked on the sides of the road.
But now there have been complaints about the parking and there are legitimate concerns about safety. But let’s not lose our perspective here.
Should visitors flocking to Warren Falls to see this amazing and beautiful place to swim, dive and play be ticketed because we can’t provide adequate infrastructure?
That doesn’t seem like such a good idea. The Valley works hard to market itself as the authentic Vermont experience and ticketing them for visiting one of our most beautiful offerings (and one that we all donated money toward purchasing so that it could become part of the Green Mountain National Forest) is not the right solution.
We need to figure out where more parking can be found and Warren may well have a solution that would yield another 20 spaces. But, can we get a little more creative here?
Surely there is an opportunity for someone to offer a shuttle service from a place where there’s plenty of parking, like Warren Elementary School or the Warren municipal parking lot. Why not run a shuttle back and forth on weekend days from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.? Charge people $1 or charge them $2.
Use signage, social media and media to make sure that everyone knows that there is very limited parking at Warren Falls and that the best chance of getting there is to take the shuttle. If the shuttle just runs back and forth between Warren and the falls, people who want to stay longer can do that and those who want to take pictures and leave can do that.
Shouldn’t we at least offer a solution before we start penalizing people for thinking that Vermont and The Valley and Warren Falls are so damned awesome?