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Shenandoah National Park: Plan your hiking trips, be prepared

Shenandoah National Park
(© Vladimir Grablev –

Shenandoah National Park continues to experience an increase in emergency calls, prompting park officials to remind visitors of the need to plan their hiking trips and be prepared.

This is especially important during the upcoming colder months when weather is more unpredictable and can be dangerous at higher elevations. Last weekend National Park Service rangers responded to several accidents with injuries and conducted a late-night search for an overdue group of hikers.

The search for four adults began at about 9 p.m. when the park’s communications center received a call reporting the group overdue from a hike. A team of NPS search and rescue rangers was dispatched to the call. The NPS located their vehicle at a trailhead and rangers hiked into the backcountry and were able to find the group at about 2:00 a.m. The hikers were cold, tired, and hungry, but otherwise uninjured.

Shenandoah National Park Superintendent Pat Kenney urges people coming to visit the Park to plan ahead and be prepared.

“We have encountered numerous situations that could have been prevented or mitigated with proper planning,” Kenney said. “Hiking in Shenandoah National Park is a wonderful recreational activity, and your experience will be even better if you are fully prepared for the conditions you may encounter in this mountainous wild place.”

Shenandoah National Park offers trip planning information as well as the Ten Essentials for Hiking Smart.