Scranton police step up enforcement against trespassers at Nay Aug Gorge

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Scranton police are stepping up enforcement at Nay Aug Gorge as warm weather becomes more consistent.

“It’s a wonderful area to come and see, it’s beautiful, explore nature at its best here. However, we have to take precautions,” Scranton Police Department chief Leonard Namiotka said.

While people are free to explore the marked trails, Namiotka says some take it too far.

“We have many people that come here and trespass and actually jump in the gorge, go swimming. They sometimes party here and that’s where we run into some issues,” he said.

Officials say in the past five years there have been 102 calls to the gorge for trespassing or for a rescue. The Scranton Fire Department is dispatched every time a rescue is called in.

“That is probably one of the most dangerous incidents that our department deals with, and we’re usually up here a handful of times every year,” Scranton Fire Department chief John Judge said.

Judge’s team had their first rescue of the year less than three weeks ago. Last year, 23-year-old Hamilton Diby of New Jersey drowned at the gorge.

“The dynamics of that moving water is just so dangerous and we can’t underestimate what that potential is,” Judge said.

Each rescue operation poses a risk for divers who have to rappel into the fast changing currents.

“We want people to be safe up here. We also want them to understand the risk of the rescuers that have to come up here if somebody does get hurt,” Judge said.

Scranton Police have surveillance cameras monitoring the gorge 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They can view the footage in real time from the police station.

“If we do see somebody here, starting to work their way down over the railings, getting close to the edge, we can dispatch those officers immediately,” Namiotka said.

First responders ask people to follow the regulations and stay on the trail.

The fine is $300 with others fees added if caught trespassing. Scranton police have cameras at the gorge and are monitoring the area in real time.

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