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Rescue teams expect busy season

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Posted at 11:20 PM, May 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-30 23:20:46-04

JESSAMINE COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — As summer approaches and more Kentuckians head out to hiking trails, search and rescue teams are preparing for a busy season.

"We've already been out here at least five times for lost hikers or injured hikers this year," said Assistant Chief Danny Eads of the Jessamine County Fire District, as they wrapped up a rescue operation Monday afternoon at Jessamine Creek Gorge.

Eads says the trails are beautiful, but visitors often give in to the temptation to explore further.

"It's very heavily trafficked. It's a very nice trail system, but unfortunately, a lot of our visitors get off the main trail and they're not supposed to be doing that. That's where we get our rescues and our lost hikers," he said. "That trail is very, very rough at the waterfall. I don't recommend it for anyone. It's an extremely difficult trail. We continue to get people that are injured or they get down in the creek and they get lost and we're trying to find them or recover them, bring them out."

Monday, he said, a 19-year-old hiker ended up down near the bottom of a waterfall, off the trail, and injured her knee. Rescuers got to where she was and helped her out.

"It's always a good feeling to see someone walk out instead of being carried out. She was in good enough shape to do that, so it's a good day, a successful day," he said.

Over the last few years, they've had a lot more days like this one as more and more people discover a love of nature, but perhaps not the know-how they need to get out there safely.

"Had a numerable increase just due to the popularity and we continue to have people go off-trail onto those private properties. Yes, there's trails there, but they're not meant to be traveled on. It's on that private property that you're not supposed to be on," he said. "All that we ask, and the fiscal court that owns the property, is that you follow the rules, you stay on the trail systems, and leave it like you found it."

If you are new to hiking, a quick look at the Ten Hiking Essentials is a good way to familiarize yourself with safety practices. It's also a good idea to let someone know where you're going and what time you expect to be back, so if you end up overdue, someone knows to call for help.