New breed of visitors could be reason for Albion Falls rescue calls, says longtime City of Waterfalls promoter

News Jul 26, 2017 by Gord Bowes Hamilton Mountain News

A different breed of visitors to Hamilton’s waterfalls these days could be the reason for the high number of rescue calls, says a photographer who helped make the city’s natural wonders more popular.

From thrill seekers to selfie takers, many people who go to Albion Falls are ill-prepared compared to the hikers of a decade or more ago, says Joe Hollick.

“It’s become too popular and with a different type of person now who thinks being in an urban setting it’s a tourist attraction and it should be safe,” he says. “But it’s still nature and it’s not as safe as people think it is.

“And with the selfie craze, people try to get as close to the waterfall as possible and they do some things that are really dangerous.”

Hollick grew up in east Hamilton and was one of the thousands of boys who used to hike from King Street up through the Red Hill Valley to get to Albion Falls.

He was one of the first people to promote Hamilton as the City of Waterfalls.

Hollick, whose waterfalls posters are still available at Dundas’s Carnegie Gallery, Art Gallery of Hamilton and the Royal Botanical Gardens, says that back in 2000, when he started photographing and inventorying, he could go hours without seeing anyone on the various trails.

As interest in the natural wonders grew, so did the number of people visiting them.

In 2005, the city built two viewing platforms at Albion Falls so people could view the 19-metre cascade from the north side of the gorge.

“It worked for a while, but people want to get closer,” says Hollick.

Albion needs proper stairs to the bottom of the gorge and a viewing platform there to reduce the number of rescues required, he says.

“It’s a gorgeous waterfall and it’s beautiful at the bottom there, but to access it is difficult,” he says. “They have to allow people access, but have proper stairs there.”

Turning Albion Falls into a more accessible tourist attraction has been a cry from waterfalls fans for many years.

Jerry Lawton, co-author of Waterfalls: The Niagara Escarpment (Boston Mills Press), made an appeal in the Hamilton Spectator in 2001.

“Albion Falls has the potential to be one of the most beautiful places in Southern Ontario,” he wrote. “It's a magnificent cascade with a wide, easily accessible ledge about two-thirds of the way down.

“Red Hill Creek makes a sharp turn to the left at its base to form a natural amphitheatre. A series of stone ledges dominates the sides of the gorge. These are perfect viewing places.

“What would it take to level these and make them safe by building stone restraining walls and stairs to interconnect them with the top and bottom of the gorge?”

New breed of visitors could be reason for Albion Falls rescue calls, says longtime City of Waterfalls promoter

From thrill seekers to selfie takers, many ill-prepared compared to hikers of past, says Joe Hollick

News Jul 26, 2017 by Gord Bowes Hamilton Mountain News

A different breed of visitors to Hamilton’s waterfalls these days could be the reason for the high number of rescue calls, says a photographer who helped make the city’s natural wonders more popular.

From thrill seekers to selfie takers, many people who go to Albion Falls are ill-prepared compared to the hikers of a decade or more ago, says Joe Hollick.

“It’s become too popular and with a different type of person now who thinks being in an urban setting it’s a tourist attraction and it should be safe,” he says. “But it’s still nature and it’s not as safe as people think it is.

“And with the selfie craze, people try to get as close to the waterfall as possible and they do some things that are really dangerous.”

Related Content

Hollick grew up in east Hamilton and was one of the thousands of boys who used to hike from King Street up through the Red Hill Valley to get to Albion Falls.

He was one of the first people to promote Hamilton as the City of Waterfalls.

Hollick, whose waterfalls posters are still available at Dundas’s Carnegie Gallery, Art Gallery of Hamilton and the Royal Botanical Gardens, says that back in 2000, when he started photographing and inventorying, he could go hours without seeing anyone on the various trails.

As interest in the natural wonders grew, so did the number of people visiting them.

In 2005, the city built two viewing platforms at Albion Falls so people could view the 19-metre cascade from the north side of the gorge.

“It worked for a while, but people want to get closer,” says Hollick.

Albion needs proper stairs to the bottom of the gorge and a viewing platform there to reduce the number of rescues required, he says.

“It’s a gorgeous waterfall and it’s beautiful at the bottom there, but to access it is difficult,” he says. “They have to allow people access, but have proper stairs there.”

Turning Albion Falls into a more accessible tourist attraction has been a cry from waterfalls fans for many years.

Jerry Lawton, co-author of Waterfalls: The Niagara Escarpment (Boston Mills Press), made an appeal in the Hamilton Spectator in 2001.

“Albion Falls has the potential to be one of the most beautiful places in Southern Ontario,” he wrote. “It's a magnificent cascade with a wide, easily accessible ledge about two-thirds of the way down.

“Red Hill Creek makes a sharp turn to the left at its base to form a natural amphitheatre. A series of stone ledges dominates the sides of the gorge. These are perfect viewing places.

“What would it take to level these and make them safe by building stone restraining walls and stairs to interconnect them with the top and bottom of the gorge?”

New breed of visitors could be reason for Albion Falls rescue calls, says longtime City of Waterfalls promoter

From thrill seekers to selfie takers, many ill-prepared compared to hikers of past, says Joe Hollick

News Jul 26, 2017 by Gord Bowes Hamilton Mountain News

A different breed of visitors to Hamilton’s waterfalls these days could be the reason for the high number of rescue calls, says a photographer who helped make the city’s natural wonders more popular.

From thrill seekers to selfie takers, many people who go to Albion Falls are ill-prepared compared to the hikers of a decade or more ago, says Joe Hollick.

“It’s become too popular and with a different type of person now who thinks being in an urban setting it’s a tourist attraction and it should be safe,” he says. “But it’s still nature and it’s not as safe as people think it is.

“And with the selfie craze, people try to get as close to the waterfall as possible and they do some things that are really dangerous.”

Related Content

Hollick grew up in east Hamilton and was one of the thousands of boys who used to hike from King Street up through the Red Hill Valley to get to Albion Falls.

He was one of the first people to promote Hamilton as the City of Waterfalls.

Hollick, whose waterfalls posters are still available at Dundas’s Carnegie Gallery, Art Gallery of Hamilton and the Royal Botanical Gardens, says that back in 2000, when he started photographing and inventorying, he could go hours without seeing anyone on the various trails.

As interest in the natural wonders grew, so did the number of people visiting them.

In 2005, the city built two viewing platforms at Albion Falls so people could view the 19-metre cascade from the north side of the gorge.

“It worked for a while, but people want to get closer,” says Hollick.

Albion needs proper stairs to the bottom of the gorge and a viewing platform there to reduce the number of rescues required, he says.

“It’s a gorgeous waterfall and it’s beautiful at the bottom there, but to access it is difficult,” he says. “They have to allow people access, but have proper stairs there.”

Turning Albion Falls into a more accessible tourist attraction has been a cry from waterfalls fans for many years.

Jerry Lawton, co-author of Waterfalls: The Niagara Escarpment (Boston Mills Press), made an appeal in the Hamilton Spectator in 2001.

“Albion Falls has the potential to be one of the most beautiful places in Southern Ontario,” he wrote. “It's a magnificent cascade with a wide, easily accessible ledge about two-thirds of the way down.

“Red Hill Creek makes a sharp turn to the left at its base to form a natural amphitheatre. A series of stone ledges dominates the sides of the gorge. These are perfect viewing places.

“What would it take to level these and make them safe by building stone restraining walls and stairs to interconnect them with the top and bottom of the gorge?”