The Natural State encourages you to experience the outdoors. Whether it’s biking, walking or hiking, we are a hub for the outdoor enthusiasts. However, every year, reports of injuries and deaths occur during those activities. That’s why state parks are working to keep you safe this summer.
It’s enticing to be outside with mother nature and the beautiful scenery but it also has hidden dangers especially if you aren’t prepared.
We went out to one of the more popular hiking spots here in Northwest Arkansas, Devil’s Den, and spoke to experts about common mistakes on the trails.
Monte Fuller is the Park Superintendent at Devil’s Den. He said, “The biggest cause of injury on a trail is either someone just stumbling and falling and not paying attention to where they’re going, or just not being prepared.”
It’s easy to get distracted by the beauty of the trails, but when you’re walking them, park officials say to watch where you step and put your hands. “If you’ll watch where you put your hands and your feet, you’re probably not going to get snake bit. Because typically people who get bit, are bit by copperheads and it’s usually on their hands and their feet,” said Fuller.
Yellow Rock is one of the more popular hiking spots to come to in Northwest Arkansas. Park officials said social media is what brings attention to it every year, but getting a quick picture for Instagram isn’t worth risking your safety.
Chanel Pennington works for Fayetteville’s Parks and Recreation Department and is an avid hiker. She said one of the most important things to keep track of is your location. “A lot of the trails have multiple routes or they’ll have switchbacks and turns so when you do go on the trail, and you’re ready to turn around, and you come back and you’re like I don’t remember if I was supposed to take a left or a right having that map is a good resource to have. “
Pennington added that it’s important to stay on the designated trails. “It’s always good to hike in pairs, but if you’re not going to, maybe text a friend or family member and say, ‘Hey, I’m going to this trail. I’m going to be out there from two to four or from five to six.’ So that way if you don’t come back when you’re supposed to, they’ll know where to go to look for you.”
Most importantly know before you go, be aware of your surroundings, familiar with the trails and your abilities, so you can enjoy nature safely.