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Can We Prevent Deaths in Eaton Canyon?
This has been a deadly summer for hikers ascending to the upper waterfalls at Eaton Canyon Park, prompting officials to warn hikers to know their limits when they go up against Mother Nature.Altadena Patch has started a discussion about whether there is anything else that the public can do to keep hikers out of harm's way at the alluring but deadly hike to the upper waterfalls at Eaton Canyon.
Here are a few suggestion the site comes up with:
1) Put up signage that warns people of the dangers, including letting people know that there have been fatal falls of hikers on the trail.
2) Attempt to put up some sort of fence or barrier that blocks the trail.
3) Put up some sort of ladder system that will allow trail users to access the area more safely. On the right, for demonstration purposes, I attached a photo of a similar canyon off the Colorado River that has a ladder system to allow people to follow the stream bed through terrain that would otherwise be extremely difficult to access.
4) Charge for helicopter rescues. If there is signage warning people they will pay for their own evacuation, could that dissuade people from going up?
5) Target sites that promote the hiking trail. Reader Lonnee Hamilton emailed me this week to note that Yelp has a review of the trail route, including some very scary-looking photos of people scaling the cliffs in the area. She wrote the editors of the site requesting that the take the page down in light of the fatalities in the area and they wrote back denying her request.
This parallels discussions that have been taking place all across the state during a deadly summer for nature enthusiasts. This has been a record year for deaths on rivers in the Central Valley and all the way up to Yosemite National Park, where three visitors were swept away over Vernal Falls this July to the horror of onlookers. Local news outlets have been wringing their hands over how to warn mostly out-of-towners about the treacherous waters that are raging after a record Sierra Nevada snowpack.
What else can we do to prevent deaths in Mother Nature?