Maple Ridge firefighters were called out to Cliff Falls in Kanaka Creek Regional Park two times over the Easter long weekend to rescue individuals who found themselves in precarious positions.
A rope rescue took place on Saturday evening and a ladder rescue during the afternoon on Monday.
“The first one crews did have to perform a rope rescue and were able to successfully rescue the person from the falls area,” said assistant fire chief Bryan Vinje, who didn’t personally attend the scene and couldn’t release any more information about the rescue, other than the person was located about 10 metres down in the falls area.
The second rescue crews were able to lower a ladder about six metres down to the individual who was uninjured and was able to climb out himself.
But, Vinje said, both rescues were generally in the same vicinity – the day picnic area by the falls.
“It sounded like the person wanted to get into the water and slide down the cliffs which is not advisable,” said Tyler Langeloo, supervisor of east area park operations with Metro Vancouver, about information his staff learned from firefighters after the ladder rescue had concluded.
Every season, there are about one or two incidents like this in the park, he noted. And, although, “the creek can be somewhat flashy”, during a heavy rain or weather event, there are plenty of hazards if people venture past the fence surrounding the falls area. There are banks that are undercut, slippery rocks by the water and steep cliffs that people can get too close to.
“Or people being unprepared and thinking I am just going to scoot down into this little part of the canyon and then realize, once they get down there, that there is actually no way to get out of that part of the canyon. So, that’s when the rope rescues and the ladder rescues have to happen.
“People put themselves in difficult positions that are difficult to get out of,” explained Langeloo.
All of the falls area is fenced and there are hazard warning signs throughout the park, said Langeloo. And, he continued, Metro Vancouver Parks staff are on site during the week and the weekends educating people on how to use the park trails safely.
“We can’t stress enough to the public to just stay behind the fence and observe the nature from being on trail,” he said.
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