Phoenix taking action to keep hikers safe

Posted at 9:37 AM, Sep 25, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-25 12:37:14-04

2015 is right on pace with 2014 for hiker rescues in Phoenix. A big question is: Should hikers who are rescued, foot the bill?

The Phoenix Parks Department recently launched a campaign to keep hikers safe on the trails. 

Parks spokesperson Gregg Bach said they've revived an old campaign by having more park rangers and new signs at trail heads.

"It's education. It's ongoing education. Making sure the safety message gets out to a variety of audiences," said Bach. "Whether that's people who are visiting from out of town or whether that's people who are here in the valley who are lifelong hikers."

Bach said taking a more aggressive approach, like closing trails in extreme heat would be difficult. 

"In the city of Phoenix there are 40 different trail heads and many more trails beyond that. We also have 200 miles of trails," he said. 

There's also been talk of a "stupid hiker" ordinance that would fine people who are rescued. Bach said it would be difficult to prove someone was negligent, plus many people who are rescued are injured. Bach said it happens to even the most seasoned, prepared hikers.

According to the parks department, approximately 200 hikers are rescued each year.