Safety measures going in at state park

New signage and locators will be placed at John Bryan State Park after three people were killed in falls at another Ohio park in the past month.

A 5-year-old also suffered serious injuries two weeks ago after he fell about 30 feet from a cliff at John Bryan State Park. Miami Twp. Fire Chief Colin Altman confirmed that the child and his parents left the marked trail and got too close to the cliff edge when the child fell.

The accident occurred the same month three people were killed in falls at Hocking Hills State Park in Logan, Ohio. A 66-year-old Cleveland-area man was killed May 20 after he stepped too close to a cliff edge off a trail at Hocking Hills State Park.

Two days prior, Peter R. Livingston, 52, of Centerville, died after he fell about 125 feet from a cliff in the rock-climbing and rappelling area. On April 27 a 19-year-old Columbus man died when he went off the marked trail and slipped on a rock face, according to officials from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Signage and more enforcement will be implemented to improve safety at Hocking Hills, and some of those same measures will be used at John Bryan, said John Lewis, assistant park manager.

“We’re going to do all new signage at the beginning of all our trail heads and we’re going to have color-coding on all the trails,” he said.

A local Eagle Scout will assist with better identifying the park’s rappelling areas, which are currently unmarked. The changes should be in place this summer, Lewis said.

Following park rules, Lewis said, is key to staying safe. Visitors are required to sign in and bring their equipment for rappelling, but Altman said that doesn’t always happen.

Miami Twp.’s rescue squads respond to about 20 calls at the park each summer, and most, he said, involve falls or people who are lost because they left designated trails.

“Almost every fall injury we have is someone who went off the trail,” he said. “There is a process in place with the park. People really have to take responsibility and watch out for themselves.”

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