Accuracy Needed in Outdoor Reporting

dupwinter.jpgIf you’re going to scare people out of the outdoors, at least be accurate.

Today’s Asheville Citizen-Times has an article about a woman who was injured around Wintergreen Falls (shown at left) in Dupont State Forest. But the picture on the front page of the paper was of Looking Glass Falls in Pisgah National Forest.

Here is what the article said.

A woman was seriously injured Tuesday after falling at a waterfall in DuPont State Forest.

The accident happened at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Wintergreen Falls in the Henderson County portion of the forest, off Sky Valley Road, Valley Hill Fire and Rescue spokesman Alan Shaver said.

The 30-year-old woman’s name was not released. She was airlifted to Mission Hospital with a serious head injury, Shaver said.

“She was out hiking with friends and slipped on some rocks and took a tumble,” he said.

He said the woman fell 20-30 feet.

Does it matter if the newspaper incorrectly put in the wrong waterfalls? Do they think that readers aren’t familiar with our most iconic waterfalls? If you’re going to scare visitors off waterfalls, it matters a great deal.

To have fallen 20-30 feet, the unidentified woman had to be climbing up the side of the waterfall. That’s very dangerous. She didn’t just hike to the falls and admire it. Though the area around Wintergreen is slippery, she wouldn’t have suffered such a serious injury just around the falls.

Dupont State Forest already has several signs per waterfall that scare visitors. I have seen people turning around and not even proceeding to see the falls because they were scared off by the signs. We don’t need inaccurate reporting to add to the scare.

And for a PS. Looking Glass Falls, the waterfall that was pictured, is on the road. Wintergreen requires more walking and some knowledge of Dupont Forest. Maybe it’s all about the walking.

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