Following the tragic death of a 23-year-old woman at Folsom Lake last week, officials have removed a tree branch that has been a troublesome site for illegal rope swings in the area.
On Aug. 12, Kathryn Hoedt of Antelope died from her injuries after falling from a rope swing near Rattlesnake Bar, a popular recreation area in the upstream waters of Folsom Lake State Recreation area.
After falling approximately 30-feet and striking the ground, friends of Hoedt reportedly transported her to the Rattlesnake boat launch area where an off-duty doctor performed CPR as rescue personnel was enroute. Life saving efforts continued as Hoedt was transported to a Roseville hospital where she died from her injuries.
Following Hoedt’s death, her family has spoken out, calling for action by California State Parks to prevent future tragedies like the one that had occurred to the Hoedt family. The family suggested better signage regarding the law and possibly removing trees or limbs in areas that the swings have been or could be an issue.
Rope swings are illegal in the Folsom Lake State Recreation area. However, the law hasn’t prevented swimmers from installing them through the years, according to state park officials, rope swings are moved continually removed when located, sometimes multiple times in one week or more .
According to new reports, Hoedt’s fatal fall was the second accident at the same location in the month of August alone. On August 1, an 18-year-old man was injured in fall at the location.
In the earlier incident, the man was reportedly unconscious after landing in the water was and being assisted others to keep his head above water while first responders were making access to the rugged area.
He was transported to an area hospital with unknown injuries.
“At this point we’re still trying to figure out what the outcome of that patient is,” said Barry Smith, chief ranger of the Gold Fields District of California State Parks.
Smith explained that rope swings are illegal in California State Parks, punishable by fine. However, enforcing the law is a challenge for park officials due to the size of the park and so many remote areas. It’s not uncommon for a rope swing to be removed, only to be replaced in a matter of days in the peak of summer.”
“The lake is patrolled on a weekly basis by maintenance staff,” Smith said. “They cut swings down on a weekly basis and of course if we get a report or if we see one we’ll cut it down.”
According to Smith, the branch that has been a common site for such swings and suspected to be involved in both recent incidents has now been removed. After removing the swing the day of the accident, a new one had replaced it in less than 24-hours on the same branch.
“We went out there that Sunday to remove the rope swing,” Smith said. “When we came back on Monday, there was a new one up in the same place.”
The branch was cut down Aug. 14 by the South Placer Fire District personnel to prevent further incidents.
Above photo: Kathryn Hoedt, 23, was a resident of Antelope and died from injuries after a fall from a rope swing near Folsom Lake. She was a producer for KCRA Television.