Officials give hiking trail safety tips

WYMT Mountain News Weekend Edition newscast at 6 p.m. on Sunday
Published: May. 15, 2022 at 5:37 PM EDT
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WYMT Weekend Edition News at 11 p.m.

WOLFE COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - As the weather gets warmer, many of us will be taking part in outdoor activities like hiking, but park officials and search and rescue workers are reminding everyone of the precautions we should take before we head out on a hike.

“A lot of rescue missions can be prevented before you leave the house,” said Drew Stevens, Public Information Officer for Wolfe County Search & Rescue.

Stevens said it is important to know the ins-and-outs of the trail you plan to go on.

“Know your route ahead of time. Know where you’re going,” he said. “Bring navigational tools such as a GPS app on your phone and a map and compass.”

Park Superintendent for the Breaks Interstate Park, Austin Bradley, said it is important to find a trail that fits with your level of physical fitness, your trail experience and your time frame.

“A lot of people start on a trail that may take three to four hours to complete with only one to two hours left of daylight and that becomes an issue pretty quickly,” said Bradley.

Bradley added wearing breathable pants and a lightweight, long-sleeve shirt can help protect you from insects and poisonous plants.

“What you will definitely encounter if you hike in Kentucky, Virginia and any of the surrounding states are poisonous plants, like poison ivy, or ticks,” he said.

Both Stevens and Bradley agree that, in addition to bringing a communication device and a flashlight, there are a few other must haves when hiking.

“Bring plenty of water and maybe a way to purify water,” said Stevens. “Also, bring plenty of snacks, such as salty snacks as the weather warms up and have those on board so you can fuel yourself throughout the day.”

Bradley added if you are lost, injured or feel yourself becoming dehydrated while hiking, it is best to call 911.

Even if you do not have service where you are on the trail, most cell phone providers will still allow you to make emergency calls.

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