Kaaterskill Falls gets $800K in safety improvements

KAATERSKILL FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Hundreds of thousand dollars of safety improvements have been made at the dangerous Kaaterskill Falls.

The Kaaterskill Falls are beautiful but dangerous. There have been seven deaths at the falls since 1998, prompting new safety measures including this danger sign.

Cascading at 260 feet, it’s the highest waterfall in the state.

“Everyone’s been talking about how wonderful the waterfall is and I have to absolutely agree, but the trail system around here is amazing,” Bob Gildersleeve, of the Mountain Top Historical Society, said.

Gildersleeve says the Kaaterskills Falls have been an attraction since the early 1800’s. It’s now one of the most popular destinations in the Catskills and with the crowds comes tragedy.

“People die here frequently, usually through carelessness.”

But visiting the falls is now safer, the DEC making $800,000 worth of safety improvements, which includes a viewing deck.

“People are always trying to getting a good view of the falls and sometimes they’re finding locations that just aren’t safe to stand on,” DEC Regional Director Keith Goertz said.

A new staircase, plus railings and signs all add up to a safer place to hike. Forest Ranger Rob Dawson says it all comes down to personal responsibility and preparation.

“Extra jacket, especially going into this time of year, fall’s coming,” Dawson said.

Common sense says to stay away from the edge and off wet rocks.

“It’s like get the hint, it’s slippery, you’re going to fall, don’t do it,” Dawson said.

Above all, know that your actions can not only put your life at risk but the lives of first responders.

So enjoy the serenity of the falls from a safe distance.

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