FISH AND GAME OFFICERS WARN ABOUT SHORTER HOURS

by Christian Mower on October 25, 2011

NEW HAMPSHIRE FISH AND GAME OFFICERS ARE CAUTIONING HIKERS TO FACTOR THE SHORTENING HOURS OF DAYLIGHT INTO THEIR RECREATION PLANS AFTER RECENT RESCUES.

THE MOST RECENT  RESCUE – NOT DIRECTLY RELATED TO DARKNESS – WAS MONDAY AFTERNOON, WHEN CONSERVATION OFFICER SGT. WAYNE SAUNDERS SAYS A 60-YEAR-OLD CONNECTICUT WOMAN INJURED HER LEG WHILE HIKING ON THE ETHAN POND TRAIL IN HARTS LOCATION, PART OF THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL IN THE WHITE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL FOREST.

THE CALL CAME IN SHORTLY BEFORE 5 P.M.  CONSERVATION OFFICERS, JOINED BY FIREFIGHTERS FROM NORTH CONWAY, BARTLETT AND TWIN MOUNTAIN – AND BARTLETT JACKSON EMS – HIKED IN MORE THAN A MILE AND HALF TO REACH ELISABETH PERKOWSKI OF NORTH STONINGTON, WHO HAD SLIPPED ON A LOG AND BROKEN HER LEFT LEG.

RESCUERS CARRIED HER TO THE TRAIL HEAD, AND SHE WAS TAKEN TO MEMORIAL HOSPITAL IN NORTH CONWAY.

IN ANOTHER RESCUE SUNDAY NIGHT, A 10-MEMBER CREW OF THE CONWAY BASED MOUNTAIN RESCUE SERVICE RESPONDED TO HELP THREE FRESHMEN FROM WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY WHO CALLED FOR HELP AFTER GETTING STRANDED IN THE DARK, PART WAY UP CANNON CLIFFS IN FRANCONIA.

CONSERVATION OFFICER JAMES KNEELAND SAYS THE TEENS HAD CLIMBING GEAR AND LIGHTS BUT WERE NOT PREPARED TO DEAL WITH COLD NIGHT TEMPERATURES IN THE 20S. KNEELAND SAYS THE MEN WERE OVEREXTENDED ON TERRAIN THAT EXCEEDED THEIR EXPERTISE, AND THEY CALLED FOR HELP ABOUT 8 P.M.

FRANCONIA NOTCH STATE PARK OFFICIALS OPENED THE CANNON MOUNTAIN TRAMWAY AND FERRIED RESCUE SERVICE PERSONNEL AND FISH AND GAME OFFICERS TO THE SUMMIT SHORTLY AFTER 10:30 P.M.  THEY THEN HIKED DOWN TO THE THREE TEENS AND USED ROPES TO LIFT THEM OUT. THE TEENS WERE COLD AND TIRED BUT OTHERWISE OK AND GOT BACK TO THE PARKING LOT SHORTLY BEFORE 3 A.M. MONDAY.

IN THE THIRD INCIDENT, ALTON FIREFIGHTERS JOINED FISH AND GAME OFFICERS TO RESCUE 46-YEAR-OLD HIKER BRIAN PFLANZ OF SOMERSWORTH, NEW HAMPSHIRE OFF MOUNT MAJOR IN ALTON SUNDAY NIGHT AFTER HE LOST THE TRAIL IN APPROACHING DARKNESS. PFLANZ WAS NOT INJURED, AND HE WAS ESCORTED BACK DOWN THE TRAIL, REACHING THE TRAIL HEAD SHORTLY BEFORE 8:30 P.M.

KNEELAND SAYS FISH AND GAME OFFICERS ARE SEEING MULTIPLE RESCUES EVERY WEEKEND, AND HIKERS AND CLIMBERS NEED TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE SHORTER DAYLIGHT HOURS IN THEIR PLANNING. FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT HIKING PREPARATION, SEE THE WEBSITE AT www.hikesafe.com.