16th rope rescue of 2016 came from Tews Falls Saturday
Officials struggling to keep 'living, breathing' escarpment pristine and safe for hikers
The conservation authority that contains the popular Webster's and Tews waterfalls was already the most frequent place local firefighters get called for rope rescues — and the latest came Saturday at noon.
It was the ninth call to Spencer Gorge Conservation Area so far this year. A young adult man was hiking with his dad when he got to a point where he could not proceed up or down, said Hamilton fire spokesman Claudio Mostacci.
The man was unhurt and fire crews were able to rescue him using a harness by 2 p.m., Mostacci said.
Overall Hamilton has seen 16 rope rescues so this year, compared to 19 in 2015 and 20 in 2014, according to numbers obtained this week by CBC News.
For rope rescues conducted at waterfalls, Tews/Websters Falls are the most common, followed by the Devil's Punchbowl and Albion Falls.
After a 21-year-old man was hospitalized after sliding down Albion Falls earlier this year, the city examined increased safety at the popular site.
"We've looked at fencing in the past," Tennessee Propedo, the director of city parks, said at the time.
"The biggest problem is that [the waterfall] is part of the escarpment, which is a living, breathing creature."