The Pennsylvania Game Commission said Wednesday that it would cost $1.7 million to make a beloved, well-known hiking trail safe for the public — which is why the agency plans to close it altogether.

The Glen Onoko Falls Trail has proven to be too dangerous, and the game commission has no money to fund safety improvements, said the agency’s spokesman, Travis Lau, who confirmed the trail will close indefinitely on May 1.

News of the pending closure has outraged hikers and nature lovers. An online petition to keep it open has drawn more than 12,000 signatures in just a few days.

Gary Meinhardt hikes the Glen Onoko Falls Trail in Jim Thorpe, Pa., Tuesday, April 16, 2019. Meinhardt and other hikers are opposed to a Pennsylvania Game Commission plan to shut down the popular falls trail over safety concerns. (AP Photo/Michael Rubinkam)
Gary Meinhardt hikes the Glen Onoko Falls Trail in Jim Thorpe, Pa., Tuesday, April 16, 2019. Meinhardt and other hikers are opposed to a Pennsylvania Game Commission plan to shut down the popular falls trail over safety concerns. (AP Photo/Michael Rubinkam)

At least 10 people have died along the steep, rocky and slippery trail since the 1970s, and there have been scores of serious injuries, straining the all-volunteer rescue squads that serve the mountainous area 85 miles (135 kilometers) north of Philadelphia. Rescues and recoveries can require as many as two dozen first responders.

“It would stand to reason there are only going to be more injuries there,” Lau said. “From the game commission’s standpoint, this is the responsible thing to do.”

He added the commission’s mission is to manage wildlife and serve hunters — not maintain hiking trails.

An unidentified woman makes her way to the base of the waterfalls just off the Glen Onoko Falls Trail in Jim Thorpe, Pa. (AP Photo/Michael Rubinkam)
An unidentified woman makes her way to the base of the waterfalls just off the Glen Onoko Falls Trail in Jim Thorpe, Pa. (AP Photo/Michael Rubinkam)

Glen Onoko, a series of three waterfalls, has drawn tourists since the 1800s. The falls trail is one of the most scenic and well-known hiking paths in Pennsylvania.

People who violate the May 1 trail ban could be fined $100 to $200.

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