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CUPD: Trail 'Served No Purpose' ?!?!

Eighteen days after we first broke the gorge fence story, it's nice to see that Sun has finally followed up on the news with some on-campus investigative journalism, interviewing a bunch of administrators from all over campus about the issue.

We were particularly struck by the following quote:

Kathy Zoner, the deputy chief of Cornell University Police Department, stated in an e-mail: “There are various types of fences near the gorges on campus. There are two fences built to restrict access to former pathways, the newest one is about 15 feet long and 8 feet tall at the trailhead near [the West Campus fraternity] Fiji. Its intention was to warn of dangers below and decommission the trail, as the trail served no purpose except to allow access to a dangerous natural area where we responded to multiple deaths in the past few years.”

Served no purpose? Dangerous natural area? Decommission the trail?


The natural area was not inherently dangerous and served numerous recreational and educational purposes. As any Cornell geologist will tell you, a descent into the gorges serves as a wonderful instructional tool to introduce students to the natural history of the gorges. The trail was no more dangerous than any of the other gorge trails in Ithaca -- Treman, Buttermilk, Six Mile Creek, Watkins Glen -- all of which remain open. And as any alum will tell you, the gorges served as a welcome respite to the hustle and bustle of campus life, allowing students to get in touch with themselves and the natural world.

That Cornell students are being denied access to the very natural beauty that attracted them to the University in the first place is a tragedy.

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on August 28, 2008 (#)

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