By Theresa Goodwin
The team that manages Wallings Reservoir is again appealing to the public to follow the rules when visiting the historical site – particularly with regards to entry fees and completing the orientation process before setting off on its hiking trails.
The reserve’s Executive Director Refica Attwood explained yesterday that the $10 fee for adults and $5 for children is minimal compared to what it costs to maintain the trail on a weekly basis.
She also said the registration and orientation process is vital so that the team knows who is using a trail at any given time in the event emergency assistance is needed.
She issued the warning following repeated cases in which people have been injured on the trails and had to be rescued. Attwood said in many cases the rescue time could have been shortened had the trained team stationed at Wallings known who was hiking and where.
She also explained that some locals have verbally abused staff attempting to enforce entrance fees.
In the past, hikers using the trails have also apparently removed route markers. On Sunday, three hikers lost their way after using a different route to access one of the trails.
“People got lost on the trail on Sunday and could not get off, and to make matters worse, Signal Hill was being cut at the same time so they were listening to the sound of the weed-whacker to find their way.
“If they simply came in from the entrance and completed the orientation, signed the hiking liability and the waiver, and something happened to them we could have responded,” she said.
The hikers were eventually assisted by guests and other members of the reserve’s team.
On Monday, the team were able to provide assistance to a hiker who slipped and broke her leg based on the information the person was able to provide to administrative staff.
“We got the distress call around 2.58pm from a group that checked in and was on a hike; at that time only two team members were left on the trail because it was a very busy day. By the directions they gave, I quickly grabbed a backpack with emergency supplies and went to the trail,” Attwood explained.
The executive director said, with the assistance of a stretcher and other hikers, they were able to help the elderly woman off the trail and to emergency medical personnel.
“This is why we encourage people to check in because no one knows what can happen and what the circumstances may be, or who in your party may need assistance,” Attwood added.