27 September 2023

Spike in park has hikers warned

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A spike in search and rescue operations in the State’s parks has prompted the Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) and Parks Victoria to issue a call for caution.

Urging hikers and bushwalkers to take precautions, VICSES said the Lerderderg State Park, Werribee Gorge, and the Grampians National Park were among several sites which had kept its volunteers busy, with 15 separate search or rescue operations conducted across the three sites in just six weeks.

“As it gets dark early at this time of year along the Lerderderg River track, which lies between two ridges, hikers should be aware that the wet conditions and early dusk increases the risk of serious injury from slips and falls, and of hypothermia,” VICSES said.

“Other common spots where our volunteers have frequently been called to rescue hikers include Eurobin Falls and Woolshed Falls in the North East, and the You Yangs near Lara,” it said.

“In the Grampians, volunteers are frequently dispatched to the Cool Chambers, at the bottom of the Pinnacle track, Bridal Veil Falls, and Mackenzie Falls.”

VICSES said Mount Cole and Mount Langi Ghiran were also well-known hotspots, with several would-be bushwalkers becoming injured on their descent.

The Service said each search required about eight VICSES volunteers in three vehicles for an average of four hours – amounting to 32 hours of volunteer time for each rescue.

“This does not include the work undertaken by Parks Victoria, Ambulance Victoria, and Victoria Police Search and Rescue personnel,” it said.

Parks Victoria also urged people to be well prepared and to choose the right hike for their abilities and the conditions.

“It’s important to consider how recent wet and windy weather might have impacted your planned walking track,” Parks said.

Information on how to prepare for a hike can be accessed at this PS News link.

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