Park visitors wander off trails and force rescue

If you plan to go hiking, stay on the trails, unless you really know what you’re doing and where you want to go.

If you plan to go hiking, stay on the trails, unless you really know what you’re doing and where you want to go.

That was the message put out by police after Arrowsmith Search and Rescue had to be called in to find two lost hikers near Englishman River Falls on the weekend.

Oceanside RCMP Corporal Richard van de Pol said police received a cell phone call from one of two Nanaimo women at about 7:30 p.m. who were lost.

“They had gone off the trails and followed some ATV tracks and become lost,” he said.

An attempt by police to locate the pair using the GPS unit on the cell phone proved fruitless, as it showed them to be in downtown Parksville, which was clearly not the case.

“Arrowsmith Search and Rescue conducted a search on the east side of the river and they were located at about 10:30 p.m.,” van de Pol said. “They weren’t dressed for a hike and the ambulance crew was going to check them for exposure, but they refused.”

Englishman River Falls is a common place for people to get lost in the area and van de Pol stressed hikers should keep to marked trails, unless they are experienced.

“There is a risk for them and their safety, but there is also a risk for other people, as they have to go to the area and search for them,” he said.

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