San Diego

Posting Picture of Your Hike Could Be Putting Others at Risk

The U.S. Forest Service is urging people to research the hiking trails they choose ahead of time

It's something that all of us have done at some point or another: go for a hike, take a picture of the scenery, or maybe a selfie, and post it to social media, tagging your location. 

Whoever sees the tagged location on Instagram, for example, can then look at a map and choose to do the hike themselves.

But people who come unprepared, not knowing how strenuous the hike might be to get to that beautiful, photo-worthy waterfall are having to be rescued by emergency personnel.

“We have issues with air rescues. We also have a problem with people not being able to call in for help due to no cell signal,"  said Olivia Walker, Public Information Officer for the Cleveland National Forest near Spring Valley. "So a lot of times they have to send a friend. The friend has to go a couple miles before they can get signal.”

Walker adds that hikers get stranded and have to be rescued in southern California, that's always been the case. But the online trend of tagging your location is putting more hikers at risk recently. 

They especially see problems on trails that are considered more diffcult like Cedar Creek Falls Trail in Ramona and Three Sisters Waterfalls Trail near Descanso. 

"We have problems with watering holes or waterfalls in San Diego, they're rare so of course people want to take pictures of them," said Walker. "Most people find that once they've gone in six miles they're just not prepared, by then its too late." 

Walker said people wearing the wrong shoes can sprain their ankles. She's also sees young children who have to be carried out by adults due to the heat. 

Walker adds though a lot of people wait until the summer to hike, the perfect time is actually in the Spring due to the cooler weather. 

"Hikers don't realize on many of these trails there's not a lot of shade," said Walker. "They don't come with enough water or enough snacks." 

For a list of family-friendly hiking trails in San Diego County, click here.

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