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Forest Service Won't Put Up Warning Where 5 Hikers Have Died

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Hikers and local news enthusiasts know that an awful lot of people need rescuing every year in Eaton Canyon, a popular spot in the Angeles National Forest, above Pasadena. The hike to the lower waterfall is fine, but people get into all kinds of trouble trying to reach the upper falls--there's no trail up that part of the canyon and somehow the "narrow ridgeline paths with sheer cliffs on both sides" don't seem to dissuade hikers. In the past two years, five people have died en route to the falls, and, according to ZevWeb, some days rescuers are called out multiple times to help injured or otherwise stranded hikers. Hey, have the authorities considered putting up a sternly worded sign advising people to stay away? They have! Representatives from the Sheriff's Department, Pasadena Fire Department, LA County, and the County parks department all agreed that would be a good thing to do, but the Forest Service wouldn't hear of it. Because their lawyers told them it was a bad idea. Ranger Mike McIntyre explained that putting up a sign "could open the forest service to legal liability; attorneys representing injured hikers might argue that, if agency officials knew there was a risk of injury, then they had an obligation to make the area safer." Uh, we're pretty sure that by asking your lawyers and then telling everyone about it, the forest service has already admitted they know there's a risk of injury.
· Fatal attraction at the falls [ZevWeb]