Hocking Hills Officials Say Death Could Have Been Avoided

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A weekend death in the Hocking Hills is something officials say could have been prevented, if the hiker had stayed on the marked trails.

William Beinlich, 18 and a Chicago native, was visiting friends hiking in the Hocking Hills State Park Sunday.

According to authorities, Beinlich wandered off the trail, then slipped off a cliff and into the falls.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Hocking Hills Park Manager Chris Grupenhof says while there are safety precautions taken, many people choose not to pay attention to them while hiking.

"Currently, we have signage at all of our entrances warning of cliffs and unfortunately we do have people that fall every year," says Grupenhof. "This was a very unfortunate case that this individual fell and did die. We currently have a lot of the signage up right now so we do everything we can do to educate people."

Grupenhof says it is dangerous and even deadly to wander off those trails.

"It's very important that visitors stay on the constructed trail. Those are known safe areas. We maintain those areas," says Grupenhof. "The areas off the constructed trails are not maintained and there's ice and moss and some pretty jagged rocks and cliffs and things like that so we encourage everyone to stay on the constructed trail."

 Grupenhof says the park tries to educate people about the dangers of hiking and to keep them as safe as possible so that a tragedy like this can be avoided in the future.