Rangers want no more falls at Josephine Falls

Rangers are urging people to stop ignoring warning signs and safety barriers after a person recently fell about five metres at Josephine Falls.

Ranger-in-Charge Leigh Willis from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) said the signs are there for a reason, and should not be ignored.

“The safety of visitors and our staff in our national parks is our number one priority,” Ranger Willis said.

“We have investigated the recent incident, and it is alleged that the person fell from a restricted access area and they are incredibly lucky to have avoided serious injury or death.

“Every year, thousands of visitors enjoy the waterfalls in the national parks near Cairns and Innisfail, and most people pay attention to our safety signs, which are there to help keep our visitors safe.

“Unfortunately, rangers and emergency services have assisted people who ignored the signs and sustained serious injuries, and there have been tragic cases when fatalities have occurred.

“We identified the top pool of Josephine Falls as a high-risk area due to recurring incidents and closed it to the public several years ago to help keep people safe.

“Although people have died here, and others have been seriously injured, many visitors believe it won’t happen to them, and they ignore warning signs and safety barriers to get the perfect selfie for likes on social media.

“We are asking people to stop and think about the price they could pay for that selfie, which could be a fine, life-changing injuries or worse.”

For safety reasons, access to the top section of the falls is prohibited.

  • Never jump or dive into water—there may be submerged objects.
  • Pay attention to all safety signage, including the depth meter, and leave water immediately if red lights on the flood warning system starts flashing.
  • Supervise children closely.
  • Take care when walking on rocks and boulders in the creek bed – they may be slippery or unstable.

Ranger Willis said there were plenty of beautiful locations where people could safely take stunning photos and videos without the risks.

“To help keep people safe, rangers regularly visit Josephine Falls, and with the storm season approaching, sudden rises in river levels can turn the peaceful swimming spot into a deadly torrent in minutes,” he said.

“I would much rather have a friendly chat to visitors about the natural and cultural values of the area, than issue a warning or a Penalty Infringement Notices for offenders who break the rules.

“I don’t like issuing $431 fines, and generally take an educational approach, but if people continue to jump the safety barriers and ignore the warning signs, enforcement is the only option.

“A selfie that costs $431 isn’t worth it, so read the signs, understand the safety measures in place and our visitors won’t fall off a high rock face, get swept away by a strong current, or get fined by a ranger.

“We want everyone who visits Josephine Falls to enjoy the area, have fun and get home safely.”

For safety information, see Visiting Josephine Falls safely.

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