By Erika Aguilar |Staff Writer|
Yucaipas Big Falls Trail will continue to remain closed another year due to the amount of accidents reported.
Big Falls trail leads to Southern California’s highest falls.
The San Bernardino National forest officials are now working on creating an effective plan to address those injuries and problems such as graffiti.
“They should educate people about the risks of hiking the trail before closing it,” said student Gary Ridge.
“The falls area is beautiful. You can’t go far wrong with tall trees, mountain scenery, and running water to create a relaxing environment,” said Ross McIntosh, a Professor of Geology.
The trail is mainly used for walking and hiking.
“Big Falls has an amazing view because, it is one of the biggest waterfalls in Southern California,” according to The United States Department Forest Service of Agriculture.
Due to the ice and the slippery rocks, Big Falls is not recommended in January, according to AllTrails.com.
Firefighters are warning visitors to be careful while hiking because the rocks become slippery when wet and there is too much loose dirt.
“Being older and having a great respect for gravity, and having lived and read the newspaper in this region for almost 30 years, I’ve read too many stories about the fatalities and rescues at the falls,” said McIntosh.
People have slipped on wet rocks or have gone too near the edge and fell.
Those who had fell and got injured needed to be rescued, and even by helicopter.
In 2016, 18 people have been injured, 16 rescues and 5 helicopter hoists, as a helicopter rescue costs $1,500 to $2,200, according to The Press Enterprise.
Along with the high costs of a helicopter rescue, there are also several shrines dedicated to people who have died.
To reduce these issues, forest officials have created signs to alert people about the risks that they are being exposed to.
Even though California’s biggest waterfall is is currently closed, people still trespass by ignoring the signs.
This is one of the issues that become a subject to debate by those who support and are against the closure of the trail.
“I think the closures are a good idea; It costs us, the taxpayers, thousands of dollars for the rescues that are done there,” said McIntosh.
For the past year that Big Falls has been closed the amount of rescues have decreased.
“I believe the place should be temporary closed and made more safe for the hikers by providing additional information than a sign saying ‘Do not trespass,'” said Roshni Patel, a CSUSB student.
Forest officials will continue to put up signs to inform the public about the dangers and consequences of hiking Big Falls.
As for now, Big Falls is closed but, there are other trails that are open to the public such as the Oak Glen Preserve Trail, Zanja Peak Trail, and Crafton Hills Trail.