Latest fall at Hanging Rock has more people thinking about safety

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STOKES COUNTY, N.C. -- Another fall at Hanging Rock State Park has people thinking more about safety while visiting.

A man was injured Sunday when he fell 20 feet while climbing at Moore’s Wall, a popular place in the park for people who climb rocks using ropes and climbing gear.

In February, two separate falls from the Hanging Rock overlook resulted in the death of a teenager, Jason Messer, and serious injuries to another hiker, 32-year-old Sylvia Hinson.

More than 500,000 people visit the Stokes County destination every year to get a glimpse of the breathtaking views from several scenic overlooks.

But with the three falls, people also need to think about how to visit safely.

At the summit of the Hanging Rock Trail is the beautiful view that most people get to see. It’s at the end of a moderate trail that’s just a bit over a mile long and not terribly difficult.

“People want to go up to the top and see the view and that's what we want people to do in a safe environment, we want people to take their time hiking up and enjoy the views and take their time coming back down,” Park Ranger Mary Griffin said.

The falls have people thinking about safety more than ever but even so, many people could be seen teetering near the edge for a thrill or better picture.

“I've seen people way out on the ledge with their arms out and it's quite scary, there are no barriers up here,” said Liv Boltz, who was visiting with her aunt and uncle who are from out of state.

Also on the mountain today were four teens who went to school with Messer. During their adventure they say he was never far from their mind and especially as they sent out a word of prayer from the top.

Park rangers say while the view is worth the hike to the top, getting too close to the edge or worrying about a better picture is certainly not worth the risk.

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