Worst Idea Ever: They Want to Fill Devil’s Pool with Rocks

Next up: They'll cut down all the trees so that your kids can't fall out of them.

Photo by Kara Milstein

Photo by Kara Milstein

On Sunday, I read with great interest Claire Sasko‘s feature on Devil’s Pool, the legendary swimming hole along Wissahickon Creek. I’ve been known to jump off of 80-foot cliffs in the Bahamas, but somehow, in my 41 years in the Philadelphia area, I’ve never made it to Devil’s Pool. Well, it sounds like I’d better hurry if I want to take the plunge.

As Sasko tells it, authorities want to fill Devil’s Pool with rocks. Why? Because it’s dangerous, duh.

Sasko recounts the near death experience of Anthony Cano, who, in 2013 at the age of 18, jumped into Devil’s Pool and punctured a lung and broke his neck. He had to learn how to walk again. And between 2010 and 2013, there were 17 people rescued from nearby Wissahickon Creek, according to NBC10.

Clearly, Devil’s Pool can be a dangerous place. But do we really need to fill it in with rocks, as police and the Department of Parks and Recreation are considering?

“I think it should be filled in not with rocks but with the people that want to fill it in with rocks,” jokes local entrepreneur and adventure seeker Ed Holden, a guy who likes to rock climb, snowboard, skydive and, occasionally, jump into Devil’s Pool. “Seriously, though, when you are far enough into Valley Green to find Devil’s Pool, you are completely separated from the urban environment that surrounds it. This is very valuable for people and their children, especially the ones not able to get away from the city. Let the children see and play in that hidden gem.”

I couldn’t agree more.

If you have had the privilege of traveling outside of the United States, you know that everyone isn’t quite so uptight when it comes to the possibility that you might get hurt or even die. I remember the first time I went to a country where public transportation amounted to sitting in the back of a pickup truck. What a thrill! Or standing on an open platform on a rickety train in Morocco while smoking a cigarette. Taboo! Or, even better, riding on top of a train in Ecuador as it negotiated harrowing mountain passes. Exhilarating! Or jumping off of that 80-foot cliff in the Bahamas. Insane!

But here in the United States, where we make it a point to let you know that our coffee is hot, the powers that be are determined to take all of the fun and risk-taking out of our lives. No one wants to talk about common sense or personal accountability. No one wants to teach us how to measure risk. They just want to put up barbed wire fences that say “STAY OUT” and have you sit at home on your couch playing video games or watching TV and being good little productive members of society. Instead, I say, go jump. (But please don’t sue me when you break your leg.)

Follow @VictorFiorillo on Twitter.