Posting park rangers on trail is wasteful
The loss of life, especially that of innocent children, is always tragic. That goes a long way in explaining why the decision was made to post park rangers along the trail to the Eternal Flame Falls in the Shale Creek Preserve within Chestnut Ridge Park. As understandable as this decision is, it underscores a social trend of attempting to protect people from poor judgment if not outright stupidity. That can’t be done.
All encounters in nature involve some measure of physical risk. Such risk has been reasonably minimized along the trail to the Eternal Flame Falls by various advisories (including not to leave the trail) and a well-marked and maintained trail. Those who choose not to follow those advisories have no one to blame but themselves. Parents should be especially vigilant because children have not yet developed good judgment and are more susceptible to wander where they will.
Posting park rangers in places such as this trail is not a guarantee that someone won’t disregard the rangers’ advice, just as they have disregarded the posted advisories in the past. As such, it is a waste of limited ranger resources and taxpayer money.
If people seek risk-free adventures, they should watch a travel video. Otherwise, they should be prepared, follow trail notices and closely supervise their children.
Lee C. Broad