WEST ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Another homeless camp has been found along the Chemung River in West Elmira, according to River Friends.
River Friends issued the following release on the camp Tuesday.
An abandoned homeless tent camp littered with garbage, tents, clothing, housewares and canned goods was recently discovered in West Elmira along a popular trail along the Chemung River.
The camp is in a wooded area, adjacent to the river, on the Northside of the waterway, near where Decker Parkway East dead ends at the flood levee.
“This is the second abandoned homeless camp discovered in heavily wooded areas along the river in the last two months,” said Chemung River Friends Executive Director Jim Pfiffer. “Whomever was living there during the warmer months trashed the place and left behind more than 300 pounds of debris. Flood waters can wash the debris into and pollute the river that provides more than 60 percent of Elmira’s drinking water.”
The camp is being cleaned up by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
“We’re not opposed to homeless people or anyone camping along the river, as long as they get the landowners’ permission and they don’t trash the place and leave the debris behind,” Pfiffer said. “The camp is located next to a scenic and popular river trail that is used by people walking their dogs, jogging or just enjoying nature.”
In December 2019, a similar homeless camp was found along the river in the city of Elmira on the Northside of the river near Dunn Field. More than 900 pounds of trash, stolen bicycles, household goods, tents and bedding was cleaned up by DEC employees.
An Elmira man, Jeremy Krepp, was arrested for allegedly setting up the camp and trashing the property. He was charged with unlawful disposal of solid waste, a misdemeanor and camping on a DEC flood control property without a permit.
“If Krepp is found guilty, we hope his sentence will include X amount of hours of Krepp removing trash along our waterways,” Pfiffer said. “That punishment and publicizing this important environmental issue, we hope, will deter others from illegally camping on and polluting riverside property.”
River Friends will continue to monitor boat launches and trails for illegal or environmentally unsafe activities and work with local enforcement to stop or reduce the problem. The public can help by being our eyes and ears along the river and trails and report trashed campsites or illegal dumping to law enforcement or to River Friends at 607-846-2242 or email@example.com.