Third homeless camp found along Chemung River

Local News

ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – For the third time in three months a homeless camp was discovered along the Chemung River, this time adjacent to the Lackawanna Rail Trail in Elmira.

The site is in dense brush between the river and the 8.5-mile trail that runs from Elmira to the Lowman Crossover in the Town of Ashland. The site includes a large camp and two smaller camp areas. Chemung River Friends will remove the debris.

“Most of these illegal riverside camps are hidden in dense wooded and brushy areas that can’t easily be seen when there are leaves on the trees,” said Chemung River Friends Executive Director Jim Pfiffer. “This site, which looked like it had been there for months, was discovered last week by a River Friends photographer. A narrow and brush packed trail led to the camp sites.”

The Lackawanna Rail Trail camp included a tent, tarps, air pump, bicycle frame, bedding, fire pit beer, fishing equipment, beverage and food containers, and assorted garbage – within a few yards of the river and Elmira’s drinking supply.

Similar camps were discovered along the river in West Elmira and near Dunn Field in Elmira.

“We are seeing more and more of these camps that are used in warm weather and abandoned when the temperatures drop,” Pfiffer said.

Pfiffer asks the public to always report any suspicious or illegal activity to law enforcement or River Friends at 607-846-2242 or

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