The city is closing Devil's Pool in Wissahickon Valley Park every weekend through Sept. 30, beginning Saturday, to "ensure public safety," the Department of Parks and Recreation said Wednesday.
The department did not elaborate on any safety issues, but neighbors have wanted a crackdown on the adventure-seekers who flock to the 15-foot watering hole. The pool, once a hidden gem, has gained popularity due to online articles, YouTube videos, and Facebook groups with directions on how to find the once-unmarked spot.
The area off the Livezey Lane trailhead is officially closed to swimming, but few people follow that rule, with up to 400 visitors known to take the plunge on a summer weekend.
Neighbors have said cars line their streets and the area becomes filled with trash. Residents have also complained of people urinating on lawns, having sex in public, and trying to swim in a neighbor's pool.
Friends of the Wissahickon, a nonprofit volunteer group, raised $10,000 to increase police presence over the Fourth of July weekend last year. Police said that they would enforce the long-ignored no-swimming rule — but that the extra manpower would only last through the holiday.
The group is asking for feedback about the weekend closures.
City officials have raised concerns that someone could drown in the pool, because there are no lifeguards or support nearby. Objects submerged in the water also present a danger, and the poor water quality can result in skin infections or gastrointestinal issues.