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Hiker Safety: Stay On Course And Travel With Others

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Hiker Safety: Stay On Course And Travel With Others

An increase in hiker rescues reported by the White County Sheriff’s Office serves as a remainder to prepare for your excursion.

State Parks Program and Education Director Rob Barrett said the most important rule is to not hike alone.

“You should always hike with somebody or at least give a hiking plan to a trusted family member or plan that they know where you are, what time you departed and what time you are expected back,” Barrett said.

Barrett said when you do hike, plan your route and stay on course. Barrett said going off trail causes more lost hikers and also hinders search efforts.

“Don’t go off into the woods and explore,” Barrett said. “Tennessee State Park trails are marked and we have maps on our website. Save the map to the phone, print one out or pick one up at the visitor center.”

Barrett said a common mistake people make is the difference between a walk in the woods versus a hike. Barrett said people may over extend their stroll which can quickly turn into a bad situation if not prepared.

“A nice walk in the woods you’re probably not going out more than a half of a mile,” Barrett said. “You’re staying on a looped trail close to a recreation area. If you are doing anything greater than that, you need to prepare, or if you’re uncertain about the direction back to your car or company.”

Barrett also recommended wearing the appropriate footwear, wear sunscreen and stay hydrated. Barrett said a great way to start your hiking hobby is by joining a ranger led program.

“Although occasionally things do go wrong on a hike, with 32 million visitors a year the vast majority have safe hikes and return home safely,” Barrett said.


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