NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) – One day after two men were arrested by Park Police for venturing into an area of Niagara Falls State Park that has been closed to the public, several others were found out on the ice.
In the summertime, Terrapin Point is open for public access with a railing. But right now, the entire point – railings and all – are covered in several feet of ice. As a result, a section of Terrapin Point has been closed to the public due to dangerous conditions.
On Wednesday, two men from Pennsylvania were arrested and charged with a violation after going into the closed area. Police say the men defied a direct police order to turn around.
“It’s all about safety. We have to keep people safe and going over that ice mound and then going down a steep slope to the edge of the gorge is extremely unsafe. They don’t realize that out at that edge, the ice is actually going over the lip, which means if you’re standing there and that gave way, you’re gone,” Park Police Lt. Patrick Moriarty said.
When News 4 went to the state park on Thursday, we saw several more people do it, and some were getting dangerously closed to the icy edge. Park Police again responded, though this time they did not take two men who were out on the ice into custody. They were let off with warnings.
Lt. Moriarty said, “Our officers are out here and will continue to advise people to obey the signs and fencing,. We also have Park Operations on the scene now adding a layer of fencing to this area, so people can’t easily go over.”
The ice formations are drawing visitors to Niagara Falls, including Diane Kirchberger and her friend. Neither ventured close to the edge but say it was tricky walking anywhere, and many tourists didn’t seem sure what was off limits.
“It’s just like awe inspiring to see what Mother Nature can do,” she said. “If they were not used to it, not aware of where the railings are and you could see some of the railings through the snow, and it was hollow sounding too, so we were asking ourselves, ‘Is it going to go?’”
News 4 spoke to one man who decided to risk it, Dave Mikulski of Grand Island. He did not get caught by Park Police and after he returned, we asked him why he went out there.
“For the thrill. Hopefully I wasn’t killed. It would have been awful for my family,” he said. “I wanted to look at the rainbow for the other falls over there and you can’t really see it from here.”
Police are again reminding the public to stay away from areas of the park that are not open to the public.