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Hiker with dogs slips down rocky cliff and dies, GA official says. Trail now blocked

An unauthorized trail has been blocked off after a woman walking her dogs fell 20 feet to her death at a Georgia national park, officials said.

Patricia Swartz, 46, was walking her two dogs at Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area in Roswell when she went down a trail known as a “social trail” along Vickery Creek on April 18, Chief Ranger Jeston Fisher told McClatchy News.

A “social trail” is one that is sometimes used by hikers but is not authorized or maintained by the National Park Service, Fisher said. The trail leads to a “pretty hairy” area with rocky cliffs, he said.

At one point, Swartz lost her footing, fell about 20 feet into the water, hit her head and died, he said. Her dogs were OK and were later turned over to family members, he said.

During the week of May 14, volunteers helped block off the trail using natural debris, such as dead tree limbs, so that it can’t be accessed by future hikers, Fisher said.

Swartz had a horticulture degree from Michigan State University and brought her dogs, two black labs named Barley and Marti, to work every day at a nursery in Milton, according to her obituary.

“Patricia had a big spirit,” her obituary says. “She lived a life of love and loved life.”

The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area is a protected area along the Chattahoochee River, which runs for about 434 miles from southeastern Georgia to the Georgia-Florida border. Roswell is about 25 miles north of Atlanta.

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