JULY 1999

Sunday - July 4, 1999
At 9:15 PM Phyllis went to see why Bill Bays, the Sunday substitute caretaker, had not yet asked to be taken across. Bill could not be found, but there were still many people on the Island. Concerned if Bill was OK as he had seemed hot and tired a couple of hours previously, Phyl asked me to call his house to make sure he was home and not in distress on the Island. He was home, and stated that he had left after 8PM and the Barry family had said they would stay later and co-ordinate this with me. The Barry family stated that they did not know we were home and were intending to stay until we returned. Late shift Sunday caretakers frequently leave early and leave other people on the Island.

The last person left the Island at 9:37PM. This was a fisherman, Michael Grant, who had stayed out on the river past 9PM the previous night and had been asked to always return early enough to leave the Island by 9PM. Tonight he obviously ignored this request.

Tuesday - July 6, 1999
Rene Dunham returned from kayaking with a salvaged kayak in tow. She had been at the rope swing where teenagers had found it awash, and had drained it and pulled it ashore. They asked Rene if it might have come from the Island, but upon examination it had not. The kayak is currently in a rack here and the canoe cruiser has been alerted by e-mail with a description.

A Beth called saying she had heard at the Woodmont Country Club that Sycamore Island was going to hire a new general manager, and that she might be interested in the job.

Thursday - July 8, 1999
Early in the morning an inner tube is found floating wedged between the ferry and the ferry landing. Alarmed to find such on the wrong side of the river, tubes on the island are counted and at least one other, perhaps two, are missing. Again, there is the suspicion that teenagers are coming onto the Island surreptitiously.

Sunday - July 11, 1999
There are 95 people logged in on the ferry, which means there were over a hundred on the Island.

Monday - July 12, 1999
Susan Elfstrom calls to inform that Sunday there was a constant stream of teenagers swimming over from the area of the rope swing and using our swimming float... so many that for long periods of time Sunday no Member could use the float because so many strangers were lying out on it. On the one occasion she confronted a group, they promised to leave but then did not.

Before noon three people called to request membership applications.

Wednesday -- July 14, 1999
John Krasny donates 3 "noodles" for the use of swimmers.

Friday -- July 16, 1999
Swimming Supervisors Ann Kip and Mark Brenneman bring 5 new inner tubes to the Island.

Saturday -- July 17, 1999
Informed by Mark Brenneman around 1430 hrs that the rescue canoe was missing. From the top of the Island I could see it beached near the rope swing tree on the towpath side. Park Police were called immediately, and officers Sloan and Conger responded quickly. They had just rousted a group of 9 teenagers, mostly Latino, out of the water near the rope swing, had seen them in the canoe, but had not known it was stolen. By the time we reached the rope swing the group had already left. The canoe was retrieved and brought back to its place on the Island. A report was taken by the officers. The case number is 99-23317.k

Tuesday -- July 20, 1999
Last night there was loud partying at the rope swing tree until 12:42 AM.

Wednesday -- July 21, 1999
Frank Daspit has contributed and brought to the Island two bird watching handbooks and a Sycamore Island Bird Checklist that he made on his computer that can be reproduced. This is a project he has worked on for some time... to make available for Club Members, especially children who come to the Island, resources to encourage them to take an interest in observing and appreciating bird life.

Thursday -- July 22, 1999
Susan Benson has a party for 17 from 3-7.

At 1450 hrs had to order 8 teenagers off the swimming float, explaining that Club insurance did not permit them to play "King of the Float." They left after loudly cursing the Caretaker.

At 1517 hrs spoke to Sgt. Pagel of the Park Police in an attempt to make sure that they are aware of the problems the Club has been having, and was pleasantly surprised that they were, especially regarding the canoe theft of 17 July. The Club telephone number is now posted at Park Police Communications/Dispatch, and it has been decided that Park Police shift supervisors will start to bring officers to the Island for familiarity. The Caretaker was urged to report any fire during this drought.

At 1715 hrs Susan Benson reported a strange young man not from her party on the Island taking a canoe. The Caretaker confronted the young man while he was carrying the canoe to the captain's float. The young man stated that he had seen a canoe at the rope swing, had asked where it had come from, and had been told that he could get a canoe at the Island. The rescue canoe was noticed to be missing. The Caretaker accompanied the young man in a canoe to the rope swing area where members of the Benson party had the rescue canoe out and were using the rope swing. Other teenagers, not of the Benson party, were also there and reported that "the word was out," that all the schools knew about the rope swing and that they had been told there was a "recreational center" on the Island where canoes could be had. Because of possible confusion about who had said a canoe could be had from the Island (members of the Benson party having joined the group of strange teenagers), the strange teenagers and the accosted young man were not detained. All persons were instructed to leave the area immediately, that the Park police would be called, and the Benson party members especially were told to return to the Island and to replace the rescue canoe. Park Police were called at 1742 hrs.

At 2045 hrs Park Police called to say that they had tried to come onto the towpath so that they could come down to the Island and take a report about the attempted canoe theft, but had found that their keys would not unlock either of the two keys on the Lock 5 gate.

Friday -- July 23, 1999
District Ranger Tom Nash is called to report the problem of the keys at Lock 5 and why it is important to the Club that Park Police cruisers be able to respond. The verbal report had to be left on voice mail.

Tuesday -- July 27, 1999
A large group of "youths" spent all last night cavorting at the rope swing... not leaving until 12:20 AM.

Susan Elfstrom confronts two teenagers who have swum to the Island from the ferry landing on the towpath.

Wednesday -- July 28, 1999
A group of 6 teenage boys swim onto the Island around 1730 hrs and are met by Mardy Burgess and Al Brown who explain the private nature of the Club and then invite them to leave on the ferry.

Thursday -- July 29, 1999
Encountered in the parking lot a trapper from Adcock Trapping Service, the same folks that removed the beaver from the tidal basin this year. He suggested that our mysterious animal sightings were of an river otter and not a nutria. He knows otters are in the river but seldom seen, while nutria are no closer than the Eastern shore.

Friday -- July 30, 1999
Seeing surveyors on the towpath, I went across to chat and learned that the large sewer pipe that runs along the canal is going to be replaced. The work has already started in Georgetown and will progress all the way up the canal, past the Island.