Stay on designated trails

Three incidents of hikers leaving the trails and needing rescued in a week, have the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Hocking Hills State Park officials urging hikers to stay on the trail.

LOGAN — On Thursday, The Logan Daily News published a story “Is the selfie worth it?” and later that day a woman went missing while hiking at Conkle’s Hollow.

Later that day, June 6, a woman’s body was recovered in a remote location at Conkle’s Hollow State Nature Preserve at Hocking Hills State Park. The Hocking County Coroner’s Office identified the body as 55-year old Dana M. Busson of Doylestown, Ohio.

The investigation into Busson’s passing is ongoing, according to a press release sent out by The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

The Zaleski Fire Department, Hocking County EMS, American Red Cross, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Laurelville Fire Department, Hocking County Sheriff’s Office, City of Logan Fire Department, Hocking County Coroner’s Office, and ODNR assisted in the recovery operation.

It is unknown whether Busson experienced a medial emergency, which caused her to fall or lose her way, or if she ventured off the trail and lost her way. Regardless, ODNR would still like to remind and encourage folks to stay on the trail this summer.

Just two weeks ago the first incident occurred, May 25, around 2 p.m. when a couple attempted to scale down a waterfall in the area of Cedar Falls. The woman fell and was injured, therefore natural resource officers engaged in a rope rescue and the woman was transported by medical helicopter for treatment.

As that rescue operation was underway, officers received a second call for help at Conkle’s Hollow on a rim trail, where a man stepped off the trail to take a better photo and fell off the edge of a cliff. The man fell 15 feet before landing on a ledge, which ultimately saved his life. If he hadn’t landed on the ledge, he would have likely fallen a total of 65 feet. The man was not injured, and he also received help by a rope rescue.

The third incident occurred on Saturday, June 1, around 8 p.m. when a man left the trail and attempted to walk across the spillway at Rose Lake. He slipped and fell into the rocks at the bottom, causing internal injuries and was transported by medical helicopter for treatment.

One ranger urging folks to stay on the trails is Lieutenant Jeremy Davis, who has worked with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources since 1998 and with the Hocking Hills State Park since 2001. The incidents that happen in the state park vary every year Davis said, but never has he seen this many within such a short period of time this early in the season.

“We built these trails to take people into these scenic areas — you don’t need to go off the trails to find them. We have plenty of things that you can see from the trail and it just increases the risk of injury. If it can happen to me and I know these areas, it’s certainly that much easier to happen to somebody who is not as familiar,” shared Davis.

Naturalist Supervisor, Patrick Quackenbush, reiterated the same point, stating the trails will take you to the coolest place in the park and by leaving you’re not going to find something more magnificent.

“What I like to tell folks all the time is there are tons and tons of poison rocks all over the place in the Hocking Hills, i.e. one drop will kill you,” added Quackenbush.

The first tip they gave was to stay on the trails first and foremost, but to also do some research of the trail you’re thinking about hiking before you head out. Know what you’re getting yourself into, how long you could potentially be out and bring lots of water and a snack or two incase it takes you longer.

“Bringing the proper footwear — flip-flops are not the best hiking boots, although we see a lot of them, I don’t recommend them. Make sure that they bring a map — that’s another issue that we have is people getting lost and not being able to make it back before dark. Once dark hits, the risks all increase again and now we have to send people into the area at dark to look for them,” concluded Davis.

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