Although they have long been a treasured part of every Vermonters’ summer, as Vermont becomes less rural and more suburban, swimming holes are closed. More riverbanks get posted, more land gets developed, and more old swimming holes become newly private property — and inaccessible.
The Vermont River Conservancy (VRC), a small organization that specializes in conserving rivers and the land alongside them, has taken note of those losses.
“We’ve noticed that many of these really spectacular places that were used by local people were being purchased or posted,” says Stephan Syz, founding board member and guiding light of the River Conservancy.
Assistant Director Lydia Menendez adds: “We receive calls frequently stating that a swimming hole that people used to visit has been closed.”
Fortunately, the conservancy has not only noticed the trend but it has a plan, and a bold one, to solve the problem: to conserve for public use a swimming hole in every town in Vermont.
“It could take us 10 years,” says Executive Director Steven Libby, “but every town should have its own swimming hole – it should just be part of that town’s public amenities.”