Businesses can choose to close or to refuse service. Certain restaurants might close during the off season. You wouldn’t think, though, that a town could simply “close” its woods for business. Well, that’s exactly what the town of Pomfret did. This small Vermont town, known for its vibrant fall foliage and, consequently, its leaf peeping, voted to close two of its most foliage dense roads to non-residents during peak leaf-peeping season, to discourage tourists and influencers from inundating the town.
“Foliage season traffic in this area has steadily increased during the last several years,” the town’s select board wrote in a memo, “causing significant safety, environmental, aesthetic, and quality of life issues.”
From September 23 to October 15, Cloudland Road and Barber Hill Road are off-limits to non-residents. This area, which includes Sleepy Hollow Farm, has been hugely popular with influencers in recent years, with many ignoring “No Trespassing” signs to take photos and TikTok videos.
The road closures were prompted by a GoFundMe campaign, called “Save Cloudland Road,” started by some local residents. The goal was to raise money for road closures and traffic enforcement during the peak leaf-peeping season.
“Over the past several years, Cloudland Road (and the small roads leading to Cloudland Road) have experienced an unprecedented surge in Instagram and TikTok-fueled tourist ‘influencers,’” the GoFundMe description reads, “who earn money from sponsors and have monetized and turned a private home on Cloudland Road into a social media photo destination.”
The campaign raised nearly $15,000, signaling how passionately residents feel about the issue, and how the road closures are likely viewed as a victory among locals.