Friday, May 24, 2024
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Cummins Falls Using Layered Protection During Severe Weather

Sunday’s rainfall caused Cummins Falls State Park to close as a safety precaution.

Park Manager Ray Cutcher said the park monitors rainfall through radar, the National Weather Service and its own rain and water depth gauges. Cutcher said the park adds as many layers of protection as possible to prepare for the unexpected.

“When we think there’s a possibility of water to rise in our watershed and cause issues down at the base of the waterfall and below that,” Cutcher said. “We would rather start evacuating people and getting them out before the situation occurs.”

Cutcher said that when a closure occurs, message goes out to all the rangers who begin using air horns and whistles to get visitor’s attention so they can be directed out of the park. He said there are even alternate evacuation routes in an immediate emergency.

However, Cutcher said there is talk of reevaluating the standard operating procedures.

“We’re looking at changing some of the wording in our SOP to be more reasonable,” Cutcher said. “To define if we really need to close at this point or are we being too cautious? So we want to look at some of that to just make sure we were making the appropriate judgement and not having people leave the area if it is not reasonable.”

Cutcher said the decision to close comes from in-house, since this is something he even evaluates upstream himself. He said the goal is to take action before weather becomes more dangerous for visitors and staff than it has to be.

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