NORTHWOODS REGIONAL NEWS: Florence County, Forest County, Langlade County, Marinette County, Menominee County, Menomonie County, Oconto County,  Shawano County

Increased litter, law enforcement issues lead Richmond Town Board to close popular swimming hole

Local News

TOWN OF RICHMOND, Wis. (WFRV) – A popular Shawano County swimming hole is closed for the time being.

“It’s too bad, it really is,” Chris Kroenke of Red River said. “We’ve been doing this forever, for years and years and years.”

That tradition is now on hold.

“It’s definitely going to be closed ’til after the 4th, because 4th of July is one of the worst weekends down here,” Steve Gueths, Town Chairman of the Town of Richmond said.

The town board voted Monday to close the park after finding the bottles and discarded rafts left behind.

“Last weekend was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Gueths said. “Monday morning my guys came up, they had a whole pickup truck load of garbage.”

There are trash cans located near the swimming hole, but town officials say they were not being put to use.

“The garbage cans are up on the bank and the rock is down below,” Gueths said, “and people just don’t want to carry it up the hill and they just leave it lay down there.”

Broken bottles and 911 calls for unruly visitors lead to the board’s decision.

“It’s getting out of hand,” Gueths said, “and people are abusing it.”

Wednesday, Chris and Tom Kroenke took a drive by to see if the online buzz was true.

“I can’t even believe this is closed, it’s so shocking. It’s just shocking,” Chris told Local 5.

For decades, they’ve come here to enjoy the river.

“I’m 59, my husband’s 65, we’ve been coming here since we were 14, 15,” Chris said, “that long.”

Tom added, “It was fun for everybody, it’s free, and now it’s taken away, because of the actions of a few, I imagine.”

Gueths expects the town board to revisit the issue in August.

“Hopefully they’ll police themselves once it’s reopened again,” he said.

If not, a more serious discuss may be in order.

“We may end up closing it permanently if it keeps going,” Gueths said. “I mean, people are getting hurt down there because of broken glass.”

Eventually, the blockades will come down, and the town board hopes visitors will begin to respect the swimming hole.

“It’s a beautiful spot,” Gueths said, “and just to have people abuse it like that, it kind of makes you sick.”

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