Kaaterskill Falls, a scenic waterfall located in the Catskill Mountains in New York, has proven a popular spot for Instagram users keen to show their followers just how at one they are with nature. However, a number of people have been putting their lives at risk while going to extreme lengths to take eye-catching pictures at the site.
Despite new safety measures that have been enforced, the last four people to have lost their lives at Kaaterskill Falls did so while taking or posing for photos, according to a New York forest ranger. Robert Dawson explained to The New York Times how the attention that the waterfall has received on social media over the years has increased its number of annual visitors, which in turn has led to a number of injuries and even some fatalities. “Just talking to people who come up here, they say, ‘Yeah, we saw this on the internet – we’re trying to find it,” he said.
“The unfortunate thing is, with those pictures, there’s nothing informing people that you could get seriously hurt here, too.”
In 2014, the deaths of two visitors led to the introduction of a new trail, stone steps and fencing in an effort to make the site safer. However, two more people died at the waterfall in 2016 despite the measures that had been put into place.
One of those individuals was 17-year-old Ezra Kennedy, who had climbed up onto a ledge so that his friends could take a photo of him from below. According to a study published in March 2017, the most important factor for millennials when considering where to go on holiday is whether it’s an Instagrammable location.
In addition to the safety measures at Kaaterskill Falls enacted in 2014, new rules that come into effect this week state that fires, alcohol, the majority of glass containers and loud music will be disallowed when visiting the waterfall. Kaaterskill Falls isn’t the only waterfall to have been brought into the limelight in recent times on account of accidental deaths.
On 3 July this year, ‘YouTubers’ Ryker Gamble, Alexey Andriyovych Lyakh and Megan Scraper died at Shannon falls in British Columbia. According to the Vancouver Sun, Scraper had slipped while walking on the edge of a pool system above the waterfall, before Gamble and Lyakh fell while trying to save her.