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Recent bluff rescue has officials urging hiking safety

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - After an accidental fall from a bluff left one person in the hospital early Monday morning, officials are reminding people about bluff safety.

Here are some tips to help stay safe:

  • Stay in sight: Tell children they need to be able to see parents at all times. Consider letting kids lead, with an adult bringing up the rear to keep an eye on everyone.
  • Pay attention to the trail: Some trails travel through steep slopes where debris might fall.
  • Take extra precautions around water: Keep a constant eye on children when they are around water. Watch out for steep bank edges that drop into swift water and slippery cobbles that could cause children to lose footing.
  • Look back so you don't get lost: While on the trail, take time to look back the way you've come. Trails look different when you turn around.
  • Carry mapping tools: Parents should carry a map and compass or a GPS device, and know how to use them.
  • Stay on the trail: Do not wander off the trail as conditions can become rough once you have left a marked trail
  • Stay weather aware
  • Hike in groups, or let someone know about your hiking plans

"We just want to remind people that if you are on a trail to stay on the trail," said Captain John Bayer of the La Crosse Fire Department. "If you venture off a trail just make sure you are comfortable where you are going. You can get into some pretty scary spots up there when you start walking on some of those rock ledges. It can be dangerous, so we ask that you just stay within your comfort zone hiking."

The fire department is also working to add emergency locator markers along the hiking trails in our area. They hope to have them installed by the summer of 2021.

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Travis Judell

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