http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/ra...a7834419a.htmlCedar Creek Falls hiking area is closed indefinitely following the death of a 16-year-old hiker Wednesday and at least seven other rescue calls since Saturday.
"We are looking at the elevated health and safety concerns," Brian Harris, public information officer for the U.S. Forest Service told Patch Wednesday night.
Cedar Creek Falls is in Cleveland National Forest, bordering San Diego Country Estates in Ramona. Hundreds of people hike in the area every weekend from throughout San Diego county and beyond. Sheriff's Lt. Julie Sutton of the Ramona substation recently expressed concern about young people partying in the area now that they are on summer vacation.
Saul Villagomez, battalion chief with Ramona Fire Department, echoed that concern in an interview with Patch on Wednesday. See the attached video.
Harris said law enforcement will be stationed at the facilities Thursday morning, and both of the two trailheads will be closed.
He said the Forest Service will need to discuss the closure with its general counsel to determine how long the area will remain shut off to the public.
In Wednesday's accident, an El Cajon teen died after falling from a steep cliff, according to the medical examiner. Another teen was taken to Palomar Medical Center.
Although it's reported that the teen fell — and did not jump — Villagomez told Patch that some people party with alcohol and then take the plunge, which can cause serious injuries over summer when the water is low.
Cedar Creek Falls is considered one of the most popular hiking locations in San Diego county.
Major bummer! Sadly I'm too surprised. I always see people heading out to the falls in this area who are woefully unprepared for the conditions. People only think of getting down to the swimming holes during the summer but don't realize how hot it can get out there. And of course, there's the danger of falling...RAMONA ---- A 16-year-old boy died Wednesday morning after he apparently fell into the Cedar Creek Falls, hitting his head on the rocks on his way down, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.
Another boy, 17, was injured when the 16-year-old fell on him at the bottom of the falls, said Sgt. Christina Bavencoff.
The injured teenager was taken to Palomar Medical Center in Escondido for treatment.
The 16-year-old El Cajon boy who died had been hiking with family members when he slipped on the rocks about 11:30 a.m., authorities said. He was airlifted to a nearby fire station, where paramedics pronounced him dead, said Cal Fire Capt. Mike Mohler.
Earlier, authorities reported that the teenager may have jumped into a popular swimming hole at the bottom of the falls.
"From preliminary interviews with the family, it seems like he slipped," Bavencoff said. "It wasn't his intention to jump."
The U.S. Forest Service closed the Cedar Creek Falls area of the Cleveland National Forest during the investigation into the death.
Rescuers are called to the area often, Mohler said.
The death followed a holiday weekend that saw eight people airlifted from the popular hiking area southeast of Ramona for various injuries and several more transported to hospitals by ambulance, Mohler said.
"What's happening is this area is being frequented by people who are inexperienced hikers or think it's a water park," Mohler said.
He said the area can be extremely dangerous for divers, with its deceptively shallow water. Hikers also often become injured in the remote and rugged area or dehydrated because they don't bring enough drinking water to hike back out.