Bradley Falls update

Published 12:51 pm Wednesday, January 22, 2020

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State, local officials meet on site for safety solution

SALUDA—State and local officials met last week regarding safety measures for Bradley Falls in Saluda. 

The meeting was held on Oct. 15 and included state and local officials, with all meeting in Columbus to discuss options and others visiting the site at Bradley Falls, where 8 people have died falling off the falls over the last 15 years. 

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Polk County Emergency Management Director Bobby Arledge said state and local officials came up with several ideas last week, with some state wildlife commissioners made their first trip to Bradley Falls. 

Officials with the Polk County Rescue Squad, the Henderson County Rescue Squad, Saluda Fire and Rescue, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Polk County EMS, Polk County Communications, North Carolina Emergency Management, two Polk County Commissioners, several North Carolina Wildlife Resource Management Commissioners, Polk County Emergency Management and the Polk County Manager attended the meeting. 

“I think (state officials) are taking it seriously and I hope to have a positive outcome,” Arledge said. 

Arledge said Wildlife officials are taking the ideas back to their board and plan to come back to Polk County with solutions soon. 

After the 8th person fell off the falls and died last year, the Polk County Board of Commissioners sent a resolution to state officials asking for barriers to protect not only the public, but the emergency personnel who have to respond. 

Each incident over the years has required as many as 50 rescuers, who also risk their lives on the falls. 

County commissioners sent a resolution in October 2019 to the WRC, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, Senator Ralph Hise and Rep. Jake Johnson asking for the state to use any and all means necessary to ensure the safety of citizens, tourists and rescuers. 

Saluda Fire and Rescue also reached out to the WRC in 2017 following the 7th death at the falls asking for barriers to be installed. 

The 8th death occurred last year since 2000. There has been one victim over the years that fell from the falls and survived. 

Bradley Falls is part of the Green River game lands is approximately 75 foot tall. There are signs on the trail in both English and Spanish that clearly say to stay on the main trail only; that side paths are steep and dangerous; that 7 people (now 8) have fallen to their death off side paths since 2000 and safe views of Big Bradley Falls are not available.