Ithaca quietly cut gorge ranger safety program this year and now it’s erased from budget

In his 2018 city budget proposed last week, Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick eliminated funding for the city’s decades-old Gorge Ranger program, which employs rangers to monitor safety at Ithaca’s gorges.

But it was actually this year that the program first got the chopping block. Despite a $15,000 allocation in 2017’s budget, gorge rangers were never hired for the 2017 season, said Ithaca City Clerk Julie Holcomb, who acts as the city’s liaison for gorge safety programs.

“So I guess you could say that the program ended in September of 2016,” Holcomb said.

City records indicate the gorge ranger position was created in 1984 to hinder risky and illegal swimming in the gorges. Armed with body cameras since 2016, the rangers helped to ensure swimmers did not get injured from swimming in rough water or diving from cliffs up to 80 feet high.

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