Doctors, Deputies Warn Against Cliff Jumping

Posted at: 07/16/2013 4:52 PM
Updated at: 07/17/2013 7:33 AM
By: Josh Rosenthal

"They know they'll get prosecuted if we catch them doing it," explained Goodhue County Deputy Misty Englund as she walked by a no trespassing sign. "Not a secret."

Englund walked up to a cliff overlooking Lake Byllesby. She says it's the same walk a lot of people make before leaping down 55-feet into water.

"I'm surprised that we haven't had more injuries," she said.

That's largely because the water below the cliff is a maximum of 14-feet deep, and it's only three-feet deep close to shore. Deputies have handed out more than 100 citations to people jumping off the cliff, which is on private property, in just the last month.

"We had 18 just yesterday," Englund said. "This is a big problem for us out here."

It's a big problem at the Mayo Clinic Health System in Cannon Falls, too.

"This is very dangerous," Trauma Program Coordinator Angela Schrader said. "The impact can be lifetime on a lot of these patients."

Schrader says people don't think the water will harm them -- but they have no idea how wrong they are.

"The blunt force trauma impact for it would be comparable to, you know, a car crash without a seat belt on and have something hit you that hard," she said.

So the advice from both doctors and deputies is simple.

"Don't do it," said Schrader. "The long term effects are not worth even taking the risk."

Echoed Englund said, "Don't do it. Don't do it for a lot of reasons."

Goodhue County deputies say most cliff jumpers get trespassing citations, and fines can range from $50 to $500. They also say it's not the locals who do most of the cliff jumping; most times the jumpers drive there from homes in the metro.