Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Fencing in the Falls

The tragedy at Falls Park is reminder to everyone who visits the park that although the Falls are beautiful and mesmerizing to watch, it is still dangerous to get too close. It is amazing to see people roaming around down on the rocks close to the flowing water. It is downright scary to see children down there. Yet, people still do it.  Common sense does not seem to prevail with some people.

Why? I suppose it's human nature to explore and cheat disaster even when there are signs clearly stating the danger. There are always going to be thrill seekers. There are always going to be people who ignore the warning signs to satisfy their own curiosity and challenge their own well being. And there are usually good Samaritans who rise up and put their own safety above all else to come to the rescue when irresponsibility has put their own lives in peril.

It is inevitable that the city is now reviewing it's risk management procedures at Falls Park. It is the right thing to do. But putting fencing around the Falls is not the answer to the problem, it is a knee jerk reaction to a tragedy that was preventable from the beginning.

Every year, Police and Fire are called to Falls Park because someone has become stranded or, heaven forbid fallen into the water. Legislating personal responsibility is a slippery slope. Where does it begin or end?

There are signs all over the Falls area notifying people of the dangers of getting on the rocks and going to close to the water. Putting a fence around a natural habitat is like fencing in the air.

Maybe the city needs to consider hiring security personnel to shoo people off the rocks if they think something must be done. But would that require a 24 hour guard on duty? Is that reasonable?

Hysteria and over reaction must be reined in and common sense must prevail. The city must do it's due diligence and review their risk management policies at Falls Park and must make a good faith effort to minimize the risk. They are doing that,  but fencing in the Falls is just a ridiculous outcome for what is a human tragedy.

The city cannot establish enough policies to make everyone responsible citizens. Nor can they create enough policies to keep us safe. It's takes common sense and personal responsibility. Putting a fence up won't solve that. What will stop people from climbing over the fence?


  1. I would agree with you about fencing the Falls and you are right about personal responsibility. Over the years I have thought it might be good to have a few a "park police" and hand out tickets to the stupid. If we can hand out tickets for texting while driving, which is show a great lack of common sense, why not for going beyond signs or ignoring signs of dangerous areas?

  2. A city park employee would do more good at a cheaper cost than a cop in the library.