DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. -- First responders want the visitors who come from all over the world to see falls in DeKalb County to keep coming to enjoy them, but to also understand how powerful they can be.
Steve Whitmire says he has the best job in the world. He says that because he works at DeKalb County's High Falls. "People come here from everywhere," he said.
A county park, it offers hiking, fishing, a playground for kids, a new welcome center, and a rich history that tells of a different time on Sand Mountain in Alabama.
"It's safe but there are certain elements of the park that are dangerous," Whitmire said. Some people forego the hiking and swimming, and come to jump from the falls into the creek below.
"Every year for the past several years we've had people either slip off of the falls, or jump off of the falls and get injured, or have injuries that resulted in death," DeKalb County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Michael Edmondson said.
Last year one person died jumping from the falls.
Signs telling visitors to swim at their own risk are posted throughout the park. "You've got to pay attention to what's going on around you, how the water is, if it's up, if it's down. How rough the current is," Edmondson said, "All of those factors need to be taken into account."
Edmondson says it's hard for them when they respond to an accident at what was supposed to be a nice day at the park. "We want to see people have fun and be safe," he said.
It's a great place to visit, a hidden gem in DeKalb County, and it can be enjoyed safely. The park is open every day and it's free.