Make sure to stay on the main trail when hiking

GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Two hikers were rescued from Skinner State Park on Monday after venturing off the main trail. 22News is working for you with tips to stay safe while enjoying the outdoors at our local state parks.

Spring is just two days away and that means more people spending time outdoors. Hiking is one of the more popular pastimes here in the Pioneer valley.

Western Massachusetts is home to more than 3 dozen state parks with hundreds of miles of hiking trails, but with much of the ground still frozen and covered in snow, taking a hike can be a risky thing to do.

One hiker, Steve Osciak, told 22News what he does to make sure he returns home safely after hiking the trails. “I take a cell phone and generally people know where I am. Or I walk with somebody because you’re safer that way. And if they’re icy, I’ll avoid them because you can slip and fall and that’s not worth it.”

According to the National Park Service, there are several ways to stay safe while enjoying your hike:

  • Make sure you plan ahead
  • Know your destination
  • Know how to get there
  • The weather forecast
  • Where water is available
  • Travel lightly; the heaviest items in your pack should be your food and water
  • Watch your time; plan on taking twice as long to hike up as you did to hike down

Also, make sure to stay on the trail, drink and eat frequently, and to take a break.