Last week, rescue workers were pressed into service at Glen Onoko falls when a man fell 50 feet from a slippery path into icy water.

The man was hurt, but he survived.

Rescue workers were at the scene for several hours working to get him off the mountain and to a hospital. Glen Onoko is remote and admittedly has its dangers not only to hikers, but also to the rescue personnel who respond to such emergencies.

There was some discussion about the dangers of Glen Onoko. There's no argument that every year people fall down the steep embankments along the paths of the falls and need rescuing as well as medical attention.

The Falls, though, is still a gem to Carbon County. It attracts tourists from great distances. It has natural beauty that is virtually untouched by commercial ventures.

And little should change.

Of the thousands of hikers who explore Glen Onoko, the number injured is a very low percentage. There are risks to climbing Glen Onoko, but not as pronounced as, say, skiing, or participating in any other athletic competition.

When Robert Bilardo fell into the cold water last week, there were other hikers who rendered first aid and sought help for him. If the trails would be closed, there are still people who would use them and they would become even more dangerous because individuals would opt to make the climb solo in defiance of the rules. There would be a slimmer chance that others would be around to assist if such an accident occurs.

Possibly the climb could be made safer with railings or warning which would state what type of shoes to wear and other safety information.

Maybe even climbers, and rescuers, can make recommendations for improving safety conditions on the trails.

Overall, though, Glen Onoko is a place to escape from every day trials and tribulations. It's an area where you can explore the outdoors for free. There's a camaraderie of the many people who visit the area.

Glen Onoko doesn't deserve any type of bad rap for the falls which have occurred. Those climbing do so on their own volition. Often rules aren't followed, leading to accidents.

But the falls are good for the area. There's natural beauty. And, they are an attraction which brings visitors to the local region.

In fact, they are nothing less than amazing.

By RON GOWER

rgower@tnonline.com [1]