The city and the Hamilton Conservation Authority continue to caution avid hikers venturing out onto hazardous and uncertain terrain this Easter weekend as the ground thaws from a long winter season.
Last week, as temperatures soared, Hamilton firefighters spent several hours rescuing a 52-year-old woman who fell near Tews Falls outside of Hamilton.
Tews and Webster falls are both areas of concern for the HCA at this time of year because of steep slopes and the icy areas along the north-facing and shaded parts of the nearby trails.
“Sometimes these areas do get a little bit muckier during the spring time of year,” said Gordon R. Costie, director of customer services with the HCA.
The conservation authority offers these three tips for those hitting the trails in the near future:
- Stay on the well marked main trails and avoid side trails
- Always keep children supervised and in close proximity
- For your safety and for the safety of others, keep all pets leashed and under control at all times
Erosion and rock slides
Tennessee Propedo, the city's manager of parks and cemeteries, said undermining along the edges of the escarpment is occurring this of year because of thawing, which can cause erosion or even rock slides.
“People should use extreme caution and we recommend that they should stick to designated trails that are marked out,” Propedo said.
A new fence was erected last week at Albion Falls to provide more safety because of a slippery and steep stairway and trail system.
'They’re not coming up designated trails, they’re trying to climb the escarpment on their own and then they get into predicaments.' —Tennessee Propedo, parks and cemeteries city manager
The site has been problematic with several rescues over the years, but Propedo said those would have been avoided if people kept to the trails.
“They’re not coming up designated trails. They’re trying to climb the escarpment on their own and then they get into predicaments,” he said.
The city advises residents to report areas that have limited access due to downed trees.
Both the HCA and the city continue to deal with debris from December's ice storm — especially along unmarked trails.
"The frost is coming out of the ground in the parks so we're having a hard time be able to access equipment to the location where there's tree limbs down and brush laying just because it's so wet," Propedo said. "It's going to be a slow process."
The conservation authority hopes to have the debris cleaned up by the Victoria Day long weekend.