GRANBY – Visitors to Enders State Forest in Granby are urged to use caution near the waterfalls after a University of Hartford student was seriously injured there Thursday.
"It’s a natural environment. It’s wet and slippery above the falls and steep,” said Dennis Schain, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental (DEEP) Spokesman.
Upon entering the forest, there are several warning signs about the natural hazards. But visitors tend to ignore those warnings and get dangerously close to the edge of the falls.
"The main trail is the place to be. It’s a great place to hike. You can see the whole area from there and observe the falls. The danger is when people go up high to get above the falls and into the water and we do discourage that,” said Schain.
He said, "Unfortunately from time to time an accident does happen.”
Louise Gagne of Vernon has been fighting to improve safety at the forest because her daughter was the victim of a different accident.
On June 1, 2013, Amanda Monington was walking along the waterfall with her boyfriend and cousin when she slipped and fell backwards around 20 feet, landing on a boulder underneath the falls. The 15-year-old died at the hospital the next day.
"It shouldn’t have to happen to anyone else. I’ll never get over it,” said Gagne.
Since her daughter’s death, she has taken legal action with the state on her daughter’s behalf and is fighting for more safety measures at the forest beyond the warning signs near the parking area.
"Put some signs up where the actual danger is. Build some handrails, a bridge that crosses over that area where the waters falls are so people aren’t walking across the actual ledge of the waterfall,” said Gagne.
The spot where her daughter fell is the same location as Thursday’s accident.
"I’m so feeling for the family. This shouldn’t continue to keep happening,” said Gagne.
She said, "Unless something’s done, it’s going to continue.”