Parts of Niagara Gorge Trails Impassable After Weekend Storms

5:15 PM, Jul 23, 2013   |    comments
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NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. -- Hikers, tourists and runners are urged to use caution on the Niagara Gorge trails due to damage caused by Friday night's severe weather.

Heavy rains and strong winds caused mudslides and downed trees that litter the trails, especially on the lower section between the Whirlpool Rapids and the Devils Hole trail.

Runner Shane Lilienthal is training for this weekend's Tough Mudder event, and the gorge trails are part of his workout routine.

"The gorge trail is the prelude to the Tough Mudder for sure," Lilienthal said, adding that the storm changed his routine, because he now can't run the lower section.

"You have a good chance of falling in the water if you lose your footing," he said. "The rock slides are the thing to worry about down there. Everything is loose. It's covered with gravel or dirt. It's dangerous."

Parks officials have put up signs warning hikers to be careful.

"(We're) warning (people) of the hazards that are down there and asking them to exercise extreme caution," Park General Manager Tom Watt said. "Really it boils down to some common sense if they continue to use these trails."

All trails are still open to the public; however, certain sections are impassable, according to Watt.

He expects it will take up to 8 weeks to get everything cleared away.

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