WOODSTOCK, Vt. — As the fall foliage season approaches, tourists from around the world are gearing up to witness the vibrant colors of New England. However, residents in one Vermont town have raised concerns about the behavior of visitors on their private property, prompting them to take action.
Sleepy Hollow Farm, located near Woodstock, Vermont, has long been a magnet for "leaf peepers," attracting photography enthusiasts and nature lovers. Yet, for residents like Michael Doten and Amy Robb, the influx of tourists has reached overwhelming levels.
"It's like I can't even get to my home," Robb lamented.
The root cause of this issue, according to residents, is social media. Doten expressed, "All of a sudden, we just saw this massive explosion in the number of people coming."
In response to these challenges, frustrated locals have urged the town to implement temporary road closures from September 23 through October 15. They aim to curb the intrusion of tourists onto their private properties and alleviate the strains posed by excessive visitor numbers.
Robb detailed the extent of the problem, stating, "They are walking on the lawn, the property to take their photo shoots. We definitely have a deluge of drones that come by as well. And we asked them not to fly their drones over us and on the property."
Doten added, "It is a private residence, and there's no parking area, which I have been asked, 'Where's the parking area? Where are the bathrooms? Where's the food facilities?' There's none of that here."
To address these issues effectively, the residents are leveraging a crowdsourcing approach to hire sheriff deputies who will manage the temporary road closures and enhance signage in the area.
Sheriff Ryan Palmer of Windsor County weighed in on the matter, emphasizing the need for such measures. "This is a road that was not designed for large vehicles and not designed for multiple, you know, two-way traffic," Palmer noted.
Robb and Doten underscored that their intent is not to gatekeep but rather to manage the overwhelming influx of visitors. As part of their plea to protect their area, they have suggested alternative locations that are open to the public.
Doten emphasized, "There are a lot of beautiful places in Vermont. There's a lot of beautiful drives, so really, that's where we would implore that people go there."
Ultimately, this issue revolves around private property rights. Residents are requesting that tourists, social media influencers, and their followers refrain from trespassing on their land while still enjoying the scenic beauty that Vermont has to offer.