A Vermont town known for its autumn foliage has closed its roads to the public for the season, citing an overwhelming amount of influencer tourists.
The select board of Pomfret voted to close Cloudland Road and Barber Hill Road to non-residents from Sept. 23 to Oct. 15. That also blocks access to the popular Sleepy Hollow Farm, a private residence that many tourists try to visit.
“Foliage season traffic in this area has steadily increased during the last several years, causing significant safety, environmental, aesthetic, and quality of life issues,” the select board wrote in a memo.
Sleepy Hollow Farm has been a hot destination for influencers looking to get the perfect shot of fall foliage. Videos using the hashtag #sleepyhollowfarm have been viewed over 800,000 times on TikTok. Meanwhile, thousands of photos of the farm have been posted to Instagram.
Some TikTok videos from recent years showed crowds around the entrance to Sleepy Hollow Farm, which had a “No Trespassing” sign. Despite the sign, one video shows tourists entering the property to take pictures.
The pursuit of idyllic fall photos has caused headaches for Pomfret residents.
Some people in the community created a GoFundMe campaign, titled “Save Cloudland Road,” to raise money for road closures and traffic enforcement during the fall 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,’ who earn money from sponsors and have monetized and turned a private home on Cloudland Road into a social media photo destination,” the GoFundMe description reads.
The campaign, which has raised almost $15,000, also claimed that influencers visiting the town “damaged roads, had accidents, required towing out of ditches, trampled gardens, defecated on private property, parked in fields and driveways, and verbally assaulted residents.”
A person who donated wrote in the comments, “I hope you home returns to being one and not an instagram destination.”
A Pomfret resident suggested that tourists looking for picturesque foliage travel elsewhere.
“You can just drive up [Interstate] 89, which is our north-south throughway, and have a beautiful drive,” Beth Finlayson told TODAY.com.