ITHACA, N.Y. — Officials are responding to a substantial increase in revelers illegally partying in the Six Mile Creek Natural Area at nighttime, City Clerk Julie Holcomb said Wednesday.


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Ithaca officials are learning of parties at night with, in some instances, more than 100 people dangerously jumping and swimming in the water.

“People swimming, people cliff-jumping, people rope-swinging, partying, drinking,” Holcomb said.

“They’re starting to have large parties, and the gorge rangers are having problems when they approach people to say that they’re violating the law.”

The behavior is especially dangerous given surges in water levels of late with recent storms in the Ithaca area, Holcomb said.

Holcomb acknowledged that people are known to have illegally gone swimming in the past. But the scale appears to be different this summer, over the last month in particular, she said.

“Those size of groups is new,” Holcomb said.

The partiers are coming from as far away as Endicott with generators and loud speakers, prompting neighbors to voice angry complaints, according to Holcomb.

See related: Frustrated gorge rangers say they have responsibility, but not authority, to protect swimmers

“… It’s not the five skinny-dippers we had in the 70s or 80s … The problems we’re having are escalating,” she said.

Police will crack down with targeted law enforcement, Holcomb said. Additionally, the city has released an informational pamphlet that explains that it’s illegal to swim the gorge waters and that “each year serious and/or fatal injuries occur in the gorges. All of them can be avoided.”

“We will be doing some targeted law enforcement dates, where law enforcement will come in, and we’ll be writing tickets — for swimming, for litter, for parking illegally,” Holcomb said.

“We want people to enjoy the area but also to follow the rules … there’s no swimming allowed in any natural areas in the city.”

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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.