Spectre of gorge injuries in mind, Cornell offers free shuttle buses to Treman State Park

August 24, 2012

With an eye toward getting students familiar with safe and legal places they can swim in hot weather, Cornell University is offering a free shuttle bus to Robert H. Treman State Park this weekend and Labor Day weekend. The buses will offer four round trips per day, with campus pickups at the Baker Flagpole on West Campus and Robert Purcell Community Center on North Campus.

Swimming is illegal in Cascadilla Creek gorge. 14850 Photo.Swimming is illegal in Cascadilla Creek gorge. 14850 Photo.The Cornell Plantations has helped develop a gorge safety program including a brochure and student-produced video, and reminds newcomers to town that swimming in the Fall Creek and Cascadilla Creek gorges is illegal. A safe-swimming web site at cornellplantations.org/swim presents several alternatives, such as the City-owned Alex Haley Pool and Cass Park pool, as well as Myers Park in Lansing, and Buttermilk Falls and Taughannock Falls state parks, in addition to Treman.

Four students have died in nearby gorges, and many more have been injured, in recent years. The Cornell Plantations web site and the safety video remind students and other area residents that "strong undercurrents and hidden rock ledges and debris make [the gorges] unsafe places to swim."

At a memorial service last September for Nathaniel Rand, a Cornell student who would have graduated this spring but died in a gorge swimming accident last July, his parents angrily berated Cornell for not doing enough to address a problem that goes back decades. Driving the point home, another speaker at Rand's memorial service was the brother of a Cornell student who died while swimming in Fall Creek gorge in 1986. "May no one's child ever have to die in the same way again," Rahadyan Sastrowardoyo told Nate Rand's parents. His brother, Sabartomo "Danny" Sastrowardoyo, would have graduated from Cornell in 1987.

Buses will run Friday, August 24th through Sunday, August 26th, and again next Friday, August 31st through Labor Day, Monday, September 3rd, with departures from campus at 11:30am, 1:00pm, 2:45pm, and 4:30pm, and return trips at 2:15, 4:00, 5:45, and 7:00pm. Tickets are free to students, who must obtain them in advance at the Willard Straight Hall Resource Center in the WSH Lobby.

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