We’re incredibly lucky to have Warren Falls in our community. This spectacular natural wonder draws crowds on a normal day, throngs on the weekend and hundreds upon hundreds on a weekend as hot as last weekend.
And while the swim area itself can get crowded, it’s not the swimming that’s the issue. It’s the parking. Several years ago, the ad hoc parking situation at Warren Falls was replaced with a proper parking lot by the U.S. Forest Service.
That lot holds only 30-some cars and results in people parking along the sides of Route 100 in both directions. That can be dicey on a normal weekend, but on one like last weekend, it was downright dangerous. There are signs indicating where parking along the roadside is allowed and there are rules requiring cars to be parked outside the yellow travel lane lines.
But that doesn’t make the situation any safer on a busy weekend.
Warren Falls is part of the Green Mountain National Forest and rangers can write tickets for cars that are improperly parked in the actual parking lot, but the USFS doesn’t have jurisdiction over Vermont Route 100 so rangers can’t write tickets for cars parked over the yellow lines. So, the problem lands in front of the Warren Select Board (again!).
This week a suggestion was made at the Warren Select Board meeting to seek a bus to take people back and forth from the Warren municipal parking area to Warren Falls.
That’s a good idea and raises the question of where the funds would come from. Charging riders a few dollars for a round trip could help alleviate some of the costs, but likely not enough to offset the cost of the vehicle and insurance. If a public bus is not likely, perhaps a private transportation service could be contracted to provide transport on the weekends with the cost born solely by the riders. Signage posted near Warren Village, Waitsfield and Granville could alert swimmers to the fact that they could pick up a shuttle in Warren Village that runs continuously or every 30 minutes.
It’s clear that Warren Falls’ fame is here to stay and we’re going to have to find a way to handle its popularity.