Devil’s Pool Updates

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From Craig Johnson, 1100 Livezey Lane:

The following is a review of Carol and my experiences regarding visitors and responses since our Community Meeting about Devil’s Pool last Wednesday 6-28-2017.

There was a very noticeable presence of the Police and Park Rangers beginning last Thursday along Livezey Lane, at the bottom of road by Glen Fern and up in the neighborhood. Police were parked at the bottom of Livezey Lane for the past 6 days from late morning until about 8 pm. They would regularly depart to patrol the roads along Allens Lane, Wayne Avenue, Mt Airy Avenue and other areas in the neighborhood. They were especially attentive to cars with out-of-state license plates. The result was that in the past 6 years, I have never seen as few cars parked illegally around Glen Fern and the neighborhood during a Summer or Holiday weekend. Many cars, turned around and departed Livezey Lane when they saw the police cars parked at the bottom of the road near the dam.

I would be interested in hearing from neighbors and visitors, if they had a similar experience as we did.

Both the Police and Park Rangers visited the Devils’ Pool area regularly. They enforced the “no swimming” regulations both at Devil’s Pool and by Livezey Dam. They were courteous yet firm with visitors. I did not see any confrontations worthy of note though the Park Rangers did need to call on the Police on several occasions when “enforcement” was required.

Last night, July 4th, visitors were setting off fireworks at Livezey Dam. This has not happen since I moved to Glen Fern. The Police arrived and dispersed the crowd that had gathered. Wissahickon Creek was filled with smoke from the fireworks. The explosives are toxic to aquatic life and the blasts terrorize wildlife.

This morning, we can affirm that there is less trash around Glen Fern and Livezey Lane than we have ever seen after a summer weekend or holiday.

Carol and I were delighted that Friends of the Wissahickon setup an outdoor information booth on Sunday near the entrance to the trail to Devil’s Pool. Sarah Marley from FOW, Marc Snyder and the FOW Trail Ambassadors connected with many new and regular visitors. The FOW team provided a very positive welcoming presence. They offered information and insight into how best to enjoy the WissahickonValley while being mindful of PPR rules and regulations. Thank you FOW ….

On Sunday, Ryan McMurray stopped by Glen Fern while we were having lunch and asked if he could speak with us. He explained that he was (if I remember correctly, 25 years old) and he and his friends had grown up in Mt Airy. Since childhood, he and his buddies had spent much of their Summers in the Wissahickon Woods around Devil’s Pool. He said that he had heard about the last Wednesday’s Community Meeting and asked if we could advise him on how he could attend the next meeting so that he and his friends could have a voice in the discussion about issues related to visitors to Devil’s Pool. We explained to Ryan what we knew and said we would contact him when we learned about the next meeting. Ryan McMurray267-606-5936 ( phone + text – best to text him ) –

– Drivers tell us that they park along Livezey Lane and around Glen Fern because they think it is legal since there are basically no signs that identify the area as “No Parking.” Multiple times a day, visitors ask us, “Where can I park?”
– Could “No Parking – Tow Zone Signs” be installed ASAP along Livezey Lane and around Glen Fern.
Also, could “No Parking” signs be installed on one side of the neighboring streets, Wayne Ave, Mt Airy Ave etc.

– Could speed limit signs be installed ASAP on Livezey Lane – With all of the pot holes and pedestrians, speed limit should be 10 MPH

– Could a Big Sign at the top of Livezey announce that there is “No Parking Beyond this Point” – English & Spanish

–   Could “No Swimming” signage be installed at Livezey Dam + Devil’s Pool. When asked by Police and Park Rangers to leave the water, I have hear multiple times from visitors who say, “But there are no signs about not swimming.” Signs should be in English and Spanish – Maybe a second sign could explain “why” swimming is prohibited – pollution, undertow … etc.
5 years ago, at there was a “No Swimming Sign” at Livezey Dam which fell apart beyond repair.
Two years ago, a father and son drowned at Devil’s Pool.
When the creek is in high flow after storms there is a strong undertow beneath the dam.
Last year, I helped resuscitate a fisherman who was pulled under the water beneath the dam and trapped.
The fisherman said to me, “I almost died.”
The core concern for warning signs is public health and safety plus there may be liability issues for the City of Philadelphia if no warning signs are posted.
– I have volunteered for the “Signage Committee” and offered to host the first meeting at Glen Fern.
– Can the water be tested at Devil’s Pool and Livezey Dam on several occasions by PWD or an independent agency? Testing should happen right after a rain event with high flow rate and between rain events with lower flow rate to get accurate data. This data can confirm empirically the public health risks and toxicity of the water.
We appreciate the rapid response to our community concerns by WMAMFOW, PPR, Police and CWTownWatch – and anyone else I missed to acknowledge.
Craig and Carol