Albemarle Police Monitoring Campers Along Rivanna River
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va (WVIR) -
People living in Albemarle County say they've spotted groups of homeless people camping out on the trails along the Rivanna River.
Police say they are monitoring the issue with the help of the county parks department.
Business owners and people that live near the trails say they feel uneasy about the late-night campers.
“We’ll get calls from business owners, people who live in the community who maybe saw something unsettling or were concerned about what they were seeing,” Albemarle police spokesperson Carter Johnson says.
It's against park rules to be on the Rivanna Trail one hour after sunset. Camping is never allowed.
People who pitch a tent on the trail aren't only breaking county rules; police say they're breaking the law.
Carroll Shifflett, owner of Riverside Lunch next to the Rivanna, says the trail needs a stronger police presence.
“They need to be policed, and find out who they are and why they're there,” Shifflett says. “You know you don't have a place to go, why do you have to stay here?”
Albemarle county police say they are monitoring the trails by riding through on ATVs and bikes.
Police tell campers to pack up and move along, then a day or so later, officers return to the site to make sure they're gone. They are helping people camped out find places to stay, like shelters.
Police say camping is illegal on the trail in part because of health hazards. Without bathrooms on the trail, it's easy to see how there is a sanitary concern.
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