Hiking safety reminders issued ahead of holiday weekend

SANDY, Utah — If you're planning to go hiking on Memorial Day weekend, officials from local police, fire, search & rescue and Forest Service agencies have a few simple reminders that could save your life.

“We are seeing a dramatic increase in rescues, particularly so early in the season,” said Bruce Cline, Sandy City Fire Chief. “Almost without exception, accidents and fatalities can be avoided with preparation and caution.

Hikers, particularly those traveling with children and pets, are urged to use extra caution around rivers and creeks, where high spring runoff is creating dangerous swift water conditions.

Other hiking safety messages include:

  • Pack adequate supplies and water for each hike
  • Avoid hiking alone
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you will return
  • Stay on marked trails and do not climb on waterfalls
  • Don't take risks
  • Don't count on cellphones to work in the wilderness

"Things are gonna happen. There's a lot of people who are visiting and recreating in the Wasatch Mountains, and so we understand that. Right now, about 50 percent of those individuals, some of those situations could be avoided," said Cmdr. Wayne Bassham, Salt Lake Co. Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue.