The public information officer for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says they are reviewing the circumstances from this past weekend where a man from Dubuque fell 40 to 50 feet from the area known as the Horshoe Bluff at the Mines of Spain Recreation Area.
DNR spokesman Alex Murphy says they’ll determine if any charges are filed against the three men who were hiking together.”We do believe that alcohol was a factor in this case,” Murphy says, “along with the gentlemen had gone outside off the designated area into a closed off area.”
The man who fell, 23-year-old Andrew Freiburger, had non-life threatening injuries. It’s the second such fall in the past week after an eight-year-old girl from Jesup fell while hiking with family and friends at Backbone State Park.
“We start to see a lot more people using our parks during these summer months when the weather really starts to get nice. So, now that we’ve had two falls in a week’s span, we as a leadership team will meet and look at the incident reports and any other factors and see if there is anything that we can do to ensure safety,” according to Murphy. He says there is always going to be some risk involved in these activities as they can’t fence off everything.
“Really it comes down to how much of it is nature and at your own risk versus what we can do in providing safety measures,” Murphy says.He says they are always cautious about putting up fences or railings to protect the public, because they don’t want to be altering nature. He says they try to educate everyone on the dangers.
“We really tell people that when you’re hiking and using our parks — you go at your own risk. There are some dangerous areas that’s for sure, because there are some bluffs and cliffs and steep embankments — again you go at your own risk,” Murphy says. Murphy says they will review both cases and see if more education needs to be done.