Dorset issues release on quarry operation

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DORSET — The Town of Dorset issued a press release about the Dorset Quarry in response to questions.

Town Manager Rob Gaiotti said the release came as a result of "resident inquiries and the Town wanting people to have a better understanding of what is being done."

The privately owned swimming hole on Route 30 opened June 12 with guidelines in place to promote social distancing.

In the ensuing three weeks, Facebook has lit up with complaints about people at the quarry not following social guidelines, but the man running the quarry says they don't see all the efforts being made to ensure social distancing.

Ryan Downey, who is buying the land the parking lot and surrounding land next to the quarry from long-time owners Richard and Kirsten McDonough, has performed a lot of work on the land. The McDonoughs are donating the actual quarry to the Vermont River Conservancy.

Now called the Dorset Marble Park, the area now has paid parking, grassy areas for picnicking with 12-foot circles that groups stay in to distance from other groups. The parking area has marble blocks lining the property, trees, restrooms and staff to keep a watch on things.

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It's the improvements and safety measures Gaiotti talked about in a news release issued Tuesday.

"During the past three weeks the Dorset Quarry has been open as permitted under current COVID-19 Vermont State guidelines," the release reads. "Owners of the parking area at the Quarry have been in close contact with the State and have implemented various steps toward managing access to the Quarry."

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Staff at the quarry are limiting the number of cars allowed to park in the lot and asking visitors COVID related health questions and their county of origin, turning away visitors who come from areas that are not allowed under Vermont State guidelines.

During the Fourth of July alone, the quarry turned away 40 cars of visitors who did not meet state guidelines.

Signs encouraging social distancing and encouraging masks are in place in addition to the circles on the lawn and staff are stationed around the property to remind visitors of guidelines.

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"The Quarry has undergone a large and beneficial transformation over the past few years, which include items like safer parking and access, restroom access, additional green space and landscaping," the town release said. "The green space and parking area is now owned by a local family who have been making strides to help manage the initial point of access for quarry visitors."

The release also points out that the town has been funding a sheriff's detail on busy weekends to manage crowds.

"The town will continue to monitor the situation and to direct our sheriff to help as needed," the release said. "The management strategies of the quarry parking area will change as required should the COVID Vermont State Guidelines change."

The quarry typically attracts about 15,000 visitors every year, Downey said.

Contact Darren Marcy at dmarcy@manchesterjournal.com or by cell at 802-681-6534.


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