NewsCitrus, Hernando County


Tree jumpers climbing dangerously high over Weeki Wachee River

Posted at 6:43 PM, Apr 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-10 11:08:49-04

WEEKI WACHEE, Fla. -- People are climbing dangerously high to jump from trees on the Weeki Wachee River, but the sheriff’s office says there’s nothing they can do to stop it.

Micky Hobby was on the upper part of the Weeki Wachee River Monday when he saw people climbing ridiculously high to jump.

"You can’t stop yourself from watching it because you got to be pretty crazy to climb up there," Hobby said.

Some call it crazy, others call it thrilling. For years, people have been building ladders and platforms to jump out of trees into the river but people keep pushing is further, like a tree stand at the very top of a high tree on the upper part of the river.

The Hernando County Sheriff's Office's marine unit says it can be dangerous and people have gotten badly hurt, but they can’t stop people from doing it because it’s not illegal and not on county land.

"You want to make it where everybody has a good time out on the river but you also want to make it safe," said Maryann Johnson with Weeki Wachee Crime Watch.

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Johnson said the river has changed, it’s gotten more shallow and people are getting hurt.

"Broken legs, arms, cuts and bruises. We’re just hoping it's not going to be worse than that later down the road," Johnson said.

One issue is that the county is only responsible for the waterway itself. The property along the river is owned by SWFWMD, FWC or other owners.
Johnson says Crime Watch is working with the different agencies to reach a solution before someone gets badly hurt or worse.

"Maybe in some of these areas that are the most dangerous area, put private property signs on them and enforce those areas," Johnson said.

The Weeki Wachee Crime Watch is meeting to talk about these issues this week.