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'Stay away from Minnehaha Falls,' park officials warn

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Minneapolis parks officials are asking residents to stay away from Minnehaha Falls during the wintertime.

The 53-foot high waterfall freezes over from cold temperatures, and regularly attract visitors who climb over the fences and make their way down and behind the frozen wall of water.

It's a pretty spectacular sight, but park officials say that's dangerous, and sent out a sternly worded reminder Tuesday:

"In winter, the stairs leading down to the creek below the falls are cordoned off. Visitors accessing the falls area by sliding down the gorge’s slopes are not only putting themselves at risk for injury, they are also endangering the lives of police and other emergency personnel who will need to respond when an injury does occur."

The only safe – and legal – places to view Minnehaha Falls are from the footbridge above the falls or the overlook area near the pavilion/Sea Salt restaurant, the park board said.

Every year the parks department tries to discourage people from exploring the frozen falls. And every year, a lot of people ignore that warning.

As evidence, here are a few photos shared last year on social media by folks who didn't follow the rules.

This time around, park officials are going one step further and asking local media outlets not to cover this "dangerous and illegal activity," but to promote viewing the falls from a safe location instead.

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