Longtime residents of the Village of Millerton and the Town of North East suddenly found themselves face-to-face with tourist-driven vacation tents erected on the trail running along the historic Iron Mine Pond area in New York State’s Taconic State Park this week. New York City based Tentrr, the company responsible for the presence of the vacation tents, established the rentals in the presumed hopes of taking advantage of the latest boom of tourism in Dutchess County. Residents however, don’t see the luxury tents as a welcome site, “I, like so many others in the community, use the Iron Mine Pond as a natural sanctuary. It has always been a special place where one could walk and breath freely,” said one resident. “Planting those Tentrr sites, literally in the middle of the trail, completely spoiled the atmosphere of the place. Not to mention they cut down the shade tree overlooking the pond to do it. Whoever okay-ed their thoughtless  placement clearly does not know the place and has already caused a lot of harm to it. It is really sad and infuriating.”

Within hours of the discovery of the tents along the trail, residents took to change.org to organize a petition that has since garnered over 400 signatures. According to the petition, “(The tents’) placement has come as an unwelcome surprise to the local population who uses the area as a place of sanctuary and recreation. No warning, no consultation with local governments or people, seemingly little understanding as to how their placement would affect conditions at the Iron Mine Pond. They have rudely installed their units directly on the path used to walk the trails. We see this as an intrusion of our shared public space. Their presence is an attack upon the serenity and natural beauty of the Iron Mine Pond. Everyone who uses this area is in a state of shock which is quickly turning to anger. It’s not just that they are an eyesore, practically speaking, anyone who would rent these Tentrr sites would have dozens of dogs and people literally walking through their camps every day and using the spaces they occupy. It would be like if you tried to put Tentrr units literally on the trail and directly overlooking Bash Bish Falls, that is how poor their placement is at the Iron Mine Pond area. The Rudd Pond campground, which is a mere 1 mile away is designed for camping and we do not see how that is all of a sudden not enough. People can easily walk from the Rudd Pond campground to enjoy the serenity of the Iron Mine Pond. We would like to preserve this sanctuary.”

For their part, representatives at Tentrr say they are working to relocate the tents from their current location in conjunction with the New York State Parks Department. In a statement, one representative said, “Tentrr is committed to preserving outdoor resources for everyone, especially those who already call the area home. Once Tentrr outfits a site in a new location or state park, we are dedicated to being a part of the local community, culture, and environment. The sites have not yet been occupied and we are working in collaboration with New York State Parks to find the best locations within the park. Tentrr respects the significance of the Iron Pond history, and work is underway to immediately get these sites relocated within the park. We will have more details on this partnership next week.”