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Search and rescue team training virtually to prepare for reopening

Posted at 2:49 PM, May 15, 2020

WOLFE COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — The Daniel Boone National Forest has announced a timeline for when recreational sites will start opening back up, including the Red River Gorge. While the Wolfe County Search and Rescue team's work has slowed down over the past couple months, the team has been utilizing the downtime to train virtually.

"Displaying maps on the screen, to make it clear exactly what the instructor was talking about, they're using that technology certainly aided in the ability to understand the content," Wolfe County Search and Rescue member Drew Stevens said.

The Daniel Boone National Forest says starting in June, sites will start reopening using a site-bye-site basis. As the sites open, facility cleanliness, maintenance status and health and safety of the sites will be considered.

On Wednesday, June 3 the sites that are open:

  • Most day-use sites, such as picnic areas and shooting ranges
  • Redbird Crest and White Sulphur Off Highway Vehicle Trails
  • Red River Gorge (including Geological Area, Clifty Wilderness, Indian Creek)
  • On Thursday, June 11:
  • Most developed campgrounds

In anticipation of the Red River Gorge opening back up, the team has adjusted safety protocols. The equipment the team normally wears, such as helmets and eye wear, protect themselves and the people they interact with. Now, they've added a mask to their safety gear.

"Our team medics have been professionally fitted and equipped with m95 respirators to allow them to respond in the safest manner possible for incidents that require direct patient contact or that other wise make social distancing impossible," Stevens said.

While getting back in to nature, the search and rescue team wants to remind people to come prepared.

"We want people to come prepared. As always, know where you're going, know your trip plans, bring a map. Bring those essentials such as water, a cell phone, a flashlight," Stevens said.

Those with existing campground reservations through www.Recreation.gov [recreation.gov] will be notified via email and/or text message if there are any changes.