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The soaring popularity of this oasis in the Catskill Mountains, lifted by internet fame, has accelerated the problem.
In response, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has been implementing new safety features over the past four years.
Forest rangers have struggled to keep the growing crowds safe. They estimate the falls see 100,000 visitors a year, a tenfold increase from a quarter century ago.
Mr. Dawson said he believed social media was responsible. “Just talking to people who come up here, they say, ‘Yeah, we saw this on the internet — we’re trying to find it,’” Mr. Dawson said. “The unfortunate thing is, with those pictures, there’s nothing informing people that you could get seriously hurt here, too.”