Our View: Incidents prompt RRG safety reminders

Published 10:21 am Thursday, July 26, 2018

Nearby Red River Gorge is a popular destination for Clark Countians seeking some sunshine, exercise and fresh air.

However, recent incidents of lost hikers and even fatal accidents while hiking there indicate that while the Gorge is a beautiful place to enjoy and explore some a national natural landmark, many precautions should be taken while there.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported Wednesday that teams from Wolfe, Powell and Menifee counties were searching for a man who went missing while hiking and camping at the Gorge Tuesday night.

The man sent a text message to his mother around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday notifying her he was lost.

While this case has some other factors — the man has a brain injury from a car crash and is schizonprenic — it is not uncommon for hikers to become lost. Additionally, injuries are not uncommon.

In fact, search and rescue teams told the Herald-Leader they had been called out to the Gorge just this summer for hikers with broken ankles, broken femurs and heat exhaustion.

In March, a man died at the Gorge after falling 150 feet and another died in October after falling 220 feet.

According to Red River Gorge Today, an agency sharing news and information about the Gorge, “The clifflines in the Red River Gorge are beautiful, but they are also dangerous. Every year, visitors are injured or killed by a fall from a cliff in the Daniel Boone National Forest. “

With these recent incidents in mind, it’s important to refresh potential Gorge-goers of safety precautions that can be taken to prevent injuries, becoming lost or worse.

Red River Gorge Today shares these tips:

— Before you leave, let someone know where you are going, and when you plan to return.

— Do not hike or camp alone.

— Approaching or feeding wild animals is never a good idea. Keep your distance.

— Avoid camping near the edge of cliffs.

— Foot travel after dark is not safe. Plan to arrive at your destination before dark. If you must travel after dark, stay in familiar areas and use a flashlight.

— Watch your footing when walking near cliffs. Trees and bushes can’t be trusted to hold you if you slip.

— Watch children carefully, and keep them close to you at all times. Don’t let them run.

Additionally, the United States Forest Service shares these tips:

— Do not drink and hike. Consuming alcohol is actually prohibited in national forest lands and waterways.

— Call 911 to report an emergency. In remote areas, do not rely on cell phone coverage. Your chance for cell phone signal is increased if on a ridge top.

— The most effective way to prevent mishaps is to adequately prepare for the trip. Knowledge of the area, weather and terrain can help to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. Know ahead of time the location of the nearest telephone or ranger station in case an emergency does occur on your trip.