COMMUNITY COLUMNIST: Albion Falls still same old place, so why all the rescues these days?

Opinion Jul 12, 2017 by Greg Lenko Hamilton Mountain News

For humans, spending time in nature is a necessity for survival, which is why we are often compelled to become more a part of it.

Hamilton has built itself around a wilderness area known as the Niagara Escarpment. It has it all: lush greenery, creeks, waterfalls, hills, cliffs and lots of trails. Some trails are maintained while others are goat trails.

Hamilton's reputation as a dirty, smoggy steel town has been changing as people post their selfies from waterfalls online for the world to see.

Time after time Albion Falls turns up as a favourite place to visit. It's a place where people have the ability to interact with their natural surroundings rather than simply viewing it from above. It’s a non-commercial tourist attraction that has been built on human experience and word of mouth rather than commercialism and profit. Like all things, its greatest strength can be its greatest weakness.

With more and more selfies being taken and shared, more people are turning out to view Hamilton's amazing features.

Albion Falls is no longer the quiet place you used to hike to as a kid. There are only so many things you can do at Albion and yet in the last few years the number of emergency rescues has skyrocketed.

So what has changed? Aren't the falls still the same falls? Have people invented a new way to take risks?

The things that have changed most significantly are the number of people who are visiting, the advent of social media and the amount of erosion that has been occurring.

There has always been erosion along the escarpment. Take into consideration the number and frequency of escarpment access roads that have been closed due to erosion in the past few years. Combine that with an increased number of excited visitors competing for the best selfie and you have a recipe for trouble.

The real question is what to do about it, knowing that for visitors, where there is a will there is a way to get to the falls.

In the coming weeks, visitors will notice an inability to access the falls area as the city protects itself from the public at the cost of the taxpayer, in order to protect itself from lawsuits paid for by the taxpayer.

It seems that we are becoming more of a nanny state while enabling people to be more careless and point blame for injuries caused by their own actions.

When someone drowns in Lake Ontario is it the Ontario government's fault or the municipality from where they entered the lake? Shouldn't the same reasoning apply to a wilderness area? After all, the escarpment is no more a park than Lake Ontario is a municipal pool and it has been around for just as long.

Greg Lenko is founder of The Escarpment Project (escarpmentproject.ca).

COMMUNITY COLUMNIST: Albion Falls still same old place, so why all the rescues these days?

Hamilton's reputation as a dirty, smoggy steel town has been changing

Opinion Jul 12, 2017 by Greg Lenko Hamilton Mountain News

For humans, spending time in nature is a necessity for survival, which is why we are often compelled to become more a part of it.

Hamilton has built itself around a wilderness area known as the Niagara Escarpment. It has it all: lush greenery, creeks, waterfalls, hills, cliffs and lots of trails. Some trails are maintained while others are goat trails.

Hamilton's reputation as a dirty, smoggy steel town has been changing as people post their selfies from waterfalls online for the world to see.

Time after time Albion Falls turns up as a favourite place to visit. It's a place where people have the ability to interact with their natural surroundings rather than simply viewing it from above. It’s a non-commercial tourist attraction that has been built on human experience and word of mouth rather than commercialism and profit. Like all things, its greatest strength can be its greatest weakness.

With more and more selfies being taken and shared, more people are turning out to view Hamilton's amazing features.

Albion Falls is no longer the quiet place you used to hike to as a kid. There are only so many things you can do at Albion and yet in the last few years the number of emergency rescues has skyrocketed.

So what has changed? Aren't the falls still the same falls? Have people invented a new way to take risks?

The things that have changed most significantly are the number of people who are visiting, the advent of social media and the amount of erosion that has been occurring.

There has always been erosion along the escarpment. Take into consideration the number and frequency of escarpment access roads that have been closed due to erosion in the past few years. Combine that with an increased number of excited visitors competing for the best selfie and you have a recipe for trouble.

The real question is what to do about it, knowing that for visitors, where there is a will there is a way to get to the falls.

In the coming weeks, visitors will notice an inability to access the falls area as the city protects itself from the public at the cost of the taxpayer, in order to protect itself from lawsuits paid for by the taxpayer.

It seems that we are becoming more of a nanny state while enabling people to be more careless and point blame for injuries caused by their own actions.

When someone drowns in Lake Ontario is it the Ontario government's fault or the municipality from where they entered the lake? Shouldn't the same reasoning apply to a wilderness area? After all, the escarpment is no more a park than Lake Ontario is a municipal pool and it has been around for just as long.

Greg Lenko is founder of The Escarpment Project (escarpmentproject.ca).

COMMUNITY COLUMNIST: Albion Falls still same old place, so why all the rescues these days?

Hamilton's reputation as a dirty, smoggy steel town has been changing

Opinion Jul 12, 2017 by Greg Lenko Hamilton Mountain News

For humans, spending time in nature is a necessity for survival, which is why we are often compelled to become more a part of it.

Hamilton has built itself around a wilderness area known as the Niagara Escarpment. It has it all: lush greenery, creeks, waterfalls, hills, cliffs and lots of trails. Some trails are maintained while others are goat trails.

Hamilton's reputation as a dirty, smoggy steel town has been changing as people post their selfies from waterfalls online for the world to see.

Time after time Albion Falls turns up as a favourite place to visit. It's a place where people have the ability to interact with their natural surroundings rather than simply viewing it from above. It’s a non-commercial tourist attraction that has been built on human experience and word of mouth rather than commercialism and profit. Like all things, its greatest strength can be its greatest weakness.

With more and more selfies being taken and shared, more people are turning out to view Hamilton's amazing features.

Albion Falls is no longer the quiet place you used to hike to as a kid. There are only so many things you can do at Albion and yet in the last few years the number of emergency rescues has skyrocketed.

So what has changed? Aren't the falls still the same falls? Have people invented a new way to take risks?

The things that have changed most significantly are the number of people who are visiting, the advent of social media and the amount of erosion that has been occurring.

There has always been erosion along the escarpment. Take into consideration the number and frequency of escarpment access roads that have been closed due to erosion in the past few years. Combine that with an increased number of excited visitors competing for the best selfie and you have a recipe for trouble.

The real question is what to do about it, knowing that for visitors, where there is a will there is a way to get to the falls.

In the coming weeks, visitors will notice an inability to access the falls area as the city protects itself from the public at the cost of the taxpayer, in order to protect itself from lawsuits paid for by the taxpayer.

It seems that we are becoming more of a nanny state while enabling people to be more careless and point blame for injuries caused by their own actions.

When someone drowns in Lake Ontario is it the Ontario government's fault or the municipality from where they entered the lake? Shouldn't the same reasoning apply to a wilderness area? After all, the escarpment is no more a park than Lake Ontario is a municipal pool and it has been around for just as long.

Greg Lenko is founder of The Escarpment Project (escarpmentproject.ca).