Officials consider banning swimming at Oregon’s Blue Pool

SISTERS, Ore (KGW) — Buried in the heart of the Oregon Cascades, the Blue Pool at Tamolitch Falls is a huge attraction thanks to an incredible hike and crystal clear water where people often visit to swim and cliff jump. But in the near future, they might not be able to do so anymore.

The site’s popularity has only grown in recent years, turning it from a hidden gem into a social media sensation, with thousands of posts about it on Instagram. But the increased online visibility has drawn more visitors seeking to take the plunge, and state officials say the result has been an unacceptable rise in accidents and injuries.

At least two people have fallen to their deaths from the cliffs over the years, and the past few weeks alone have seen about six different rescue operations at the remote site west of Sisters, according to officials with Sweet Home Fire and Rescue. Most calls out to the falls bring about 20 first responders from multiple agencies, and the rescues are made more complicated by the site’s remote location.

Officials said many of the rescues happen because people slip on the trail or jump from the cliffs and miss the water. But even if they make the jump successfully, the water is straight snow melt, so the frigid temperatures can cause people’s bodies to quickly go into shock.

State officials say they’re working on a proposal to ban swimming at Blue Pool and install guardrails around the cliff edges. The falls are managed by the Willamette National Forest. A spokesperson didn’t respond to KGW’s questions about those plans, including questions about how the prohibition would be enforced.

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