NewsCovering Kentucky


Rescue officials urge hikers to exercise caution as weather warms

Posted at 11:14 PM, May 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-04 23:15:37-04

POWELL COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — After a year of doing puzzles inside and trying new recipes, many people are yearning for a more normal spring and summer: a life outside their homes.

The warm weather has drawn many people out to the Red River Gorge, but it's also prompted a warning from emergency officials.

"All it takes is just a misstep," said Jeremy Urekew with RedStar Wilderness EMS. "The rock formations are very slick and slippery."

Urekew is currently in Florida working at a COVID-19 vaccination site, but his colleagues back in Powell County have been busy responding to reports of hikers in danger. Over the last week, the Powell County Search and Rescue team has responded to at least four calls in which hikers were hurt or lost.

On Monday night, RedStar and Powell Co. Search and Rescue responded to a report about a man who had apparently fallen 60 feet off a sheer cliff in the Auxier Ridge area.

A Facebook post shared by RedStar claimed the man had walked into the woods away from his campsite to drain a can of tuna fish and did not realize he was near the edge of a cliff. Fortunately, he survived.

"We just recommend that people stay on the trails and don't hike around at night time specifically," Urekew advised. "Even with a headlamp, it's a very treacherous place at night time."

Urekew also suggested that hikers stick to the trails during the day, hike with a buddy, and bring a whistle--incase they find themselves in the unenviable position of being lost.