ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — In light of several recent scares along the Eternal Flame Trail at Chestnut Ridge Park, the Erie County Sheriff’s Department is pledging to make a difference.
Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard said Thursday they’d be committing mounted deputies to patrol the trail and enforce strict rules to keep hikers on the trails. The deputies will have the power to make arrests and ticket hikers that don’t respect the rules — which are intended to keep those who frequent the park safe.
In addition to the mounted units, police say they’ll ensure additional signs will be posted about park hours, rules for dogs and the prohibition of climbing up or down the ravines which snake through the area.
Officials say adding signs and additional patrols could be the best way to protect scenery and the atmosphere of the park.
“We have to balance disturbing the beautiful scenery with public safety, and I felt that additional signs are important and necessary,” Troy Schinzel, Erie County Park’s Commissioner, said. “We want people to enjoy the experience, follow the park’s rules and use common sense during their visit.”
Patrols — which will involve two deputies — are currently scheduled to walk the trails three times per week and concentrate on the most visited times of the day.