Poconos Coal

Future of Glen Onoko Falls Trail in flux

Pa. Game Commission considering closing trail

LEHIGH TWP., Pa. - A popular hiking trail could be closing soon in Carbon County. Officials say a long history of danger on the Glen Onoko Falls trail at Lehigh Gorge State Park has them thinking about taking hikers off of it for good. 

The Pennsylvania Game Commission points out there have been numerous injuries and a few deaths on the trail in the past. Also, those responsible for saving folks say it's too dangerous for them to try.

Yardley's Heather Waters and her family come to the park every other weekend the past few years.

"It is an amazing trail my favorite by far that we've done in Pennsylvania," says Waters.

Waters says for all Glen Onoko's beauty, there is more than meets the eye.

"I do see where the dangers are," says Waters.

A large sign warns folks to hike at their own risk because sections of the trail on state game lands are steep and treacherous. It has caused serious injuries and several deaths. That's why the state game commission is thinking about closing it down.

"It's actually really upsetting. I think it was a lot of fun. I think if you're smart about it walking the trails I don't think it's that dangerous," says Haley Scheifley of Boyertown.

There are not many who know more about the dangers of Glen Onoko than Lehigh & Lausanne Rural Fire Company Chief Tim Rossman.

"It takes about 6-7 fire departments to actually get enough manpower to handle the calls down there," says Rossman.

Rossman says his unit responds to at least two or three calls a month there and has had to purchase a $250,000 truck for rescue situations.

"Depending on the person's injuries or where they're at it could take several hours just to get them out of where they're at and down off the mountain," says Rossman.

A decision to close the trail is not expected until next month. In the meantime, Rossman says if you treat Glen Onoko with respect, she will return the favor.

"Don't go up there in sneakers, flip flops, high heels, and we've found them up there like that. You're asking for a problem," says Rossman.

If the commission decides to close the trail, it will inform the public ahead of time and the closure would be enforced by Game Wardens conducting patrols.

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