Friends Mourn Teen Killed in Hiking Accident

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Friends and classmates of a teen killed during a hike to Cedar Creek Falls gathered Friday morning to honor him.

    Joseph Meram, 16, was killed Wednesday after he fell down a steep cliff, landing in the water below.

    The group gathered on the East Lawn at Valhalla High School where Meram attended as a sophomore.

    "Joe was a really outgoing guy," said Anthony Moseley. "He always had a smile on his face."

    The group wore shirts silk-screened with Meram's picture and Lakers' jerseys as a tribute to Joe, who was an avid Lakers fan.

    Meram's death is prompting the permanent closure of the Cedar Creek Falls trailhead. The trailhead gate is now locked.

    Thursday, after hearing the news, hikers still decided to brave the trail but admit it can be dangerous.

    You don't know how much water is down there and some cliffs are higher than others. Some get slippery when people are jumping off them and the rocks wet themselves," said hiker Christopher Hurst.

    The San Diego County Sheriff's Department says it assisted the US Forest Service in 48 rescues last year.

    This year the number is already at 27, and many of those are dangerous and expensive helicopter rescues.

    Bryan Harris with the US Forest Service says after the 72-hour emergency closure expires, Cedar Creek Falls will be closed indefinitely.  He says Meram death is a factor in closure but they are also concerned about the water level.