CASTILE – Visitors to Letchworth State Park report that two people were climbing and walking on the railroad bridge spanning the Genesee River just above the upper falls this weekend, apparently willing to risk all for a fresh perspective on the fall foliage.
State Park Police warned that the bridge and surrounding cliffs are closed to all foot traffic for obvious safety reasons, and said that visitors should take in the gorgeous fall views from the park’s many designated trails.
“The bridge is private property owned by the railroad. It’s an active railway, it’s dangerous, and it’s off limits. It starts and ends there for us,” said New York State Park Police Lieutenant James Hy. “As far as the cliff banks, they’re restricted property for obvious safety reasons. This is something that we do enforce here on a regular basis.”
Stunned onlookers posted photos and comments to Facebook in the days after the sightings, saying that two people were seen on the 240-foot-high railroad bridge and on nearby cliffs, some of which are just as high as the bridge.
“They actually climbed up and over the top railing and walked off on the trestle,” posted Marie Nettin on Sunday. “It would have been horrible if they had fallen. I couldn’t watch.”
State Park Police said that there are plenty of designated trails for folks to enjoy the changing seasons and open air.
“The park is beautiful, and there are plenty of marked trails,” added Lieutenant Hy. “Sometimes people seem to want that extra few feet, that extra edge, but it’s just not safe.
On Oct. 10, 2014, Penfield resident Matthew Rezsnyak, 14, died when he stepped too close to the edge of the gorge, slipped, and fell.
On Dec. 15, 2014, Cheektowaga resident Tim Mazurczak, 22, fell about 60 feet into a ravine near Hogs Back Overlook, and was recovered unharmed after a rope rescue by local firefighters and police. Mazurczak was then ticketed by State Park Police for Failure to Use Designated Trails.