If you plan on heading to the Wichita Mountains to hike here in the near future, make sure you get there early enough.
KSWO reports that the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge has issued an emergency closure order. This means that walking times will be limited in the refuge.
For safety reasons, hikers will only be able to hike from sunrise to 10:00 a.m. due to a recent spike in rescues caused by hot weather.
Visitor service manager Quinton Smith said some of the rescues took hours:
There’s just 24,000 acres of land for public use that people can hike and even if they come out at the start of a trail, like the one we’re on right now, you can see the huge area that’s behind us… we don’t know where they will be there. Which brings us back to the complication of search and rescue, when you start to think we’ve got somebody out there and we know they’re hurt, or we know they didn’t show up when he should, finding him in there is really hard… Some of the search and rescues we’ve done have gone on for hours upon hours, and a rescuer can only give you a certain number of hours before you find yourself. put in danger.
Limited camping will still be permitted as well as picnicking, fishing, wildlife photography and kayaking.
Even though the temperatures are cooler in the morning, it’s still important to make sure you’re hydrated in the days leading up to the hike, according to Smith. Hikers are also encouraged to wear loose, light-colored clothing.
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