The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is urging visitors to stay on designated trails after a hiker became injured in an unsanctioned area last week. (Westerly file photo)

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is urging visitors to stay on designated trails after a hiker became injured in an unsanctioned area last week. (Westerly file photo)

Injured hiker rescued in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

“Safety is everyone’s responsibility.”

A hiker needed rescuing after venturing into an unsanctioned area of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and becoming injured last week.

The hiker was exploring the park reserve with friends when the group wandered off a designated trail and found themselves navigating through steep terrain where the hiker fell.

One of the group called 911 and the dispatcher alerted Parks Canada to the situation around 3 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 18.

Nathalie Chouinard-Nolet, a visitor safety technician with the park reserve, told the Westerly News that the injured hiker was stranded near the park reserve’s southern border at Cox Bay.

“The hiker had slipped and injured her leg and she could no longer bear weight on her injured leg, so she couldn’t walk anymore,” Chouinard-Nolet said. “From our knowledge of the area, we knew that where the injury occurred it includes some steep, rocky terrain.”

She said a Parks Canada visitor safety team arrived at the site to assess the situation and quickly realized more help would be needed, so the West Coast Inland Search and Rescue crew was called in to assist.

“We had a great response from the team to carry the stretcher through the steep rainforest trail,” read a Facebook post from WISAR. “Our rope team leap frogged to set up some simple belays leading to a fast and safe task.”

Chouinard-Nolet said the park reserve is grateful to have volunteer groups like WISAR to lean on when situations arise.

“We’re really fortunate for a remote rural area to have such a great network of emergency service providers and community members that we work with,” she said. “It’s really important.”

She said rope rescue techniques were used to lift the injured hiker to safety and the evacuation took roughly five hours with the hiker being transferred to BC Ambulance personnel around 8 p.m.

“When we’re dealing with steep, rocky terrain, it does require some sort of rope rescue techniques to be able to do that safely. We wouldn’t want to cause other injuries, so that’s pretty extensive and it takes a little bit more time,” she said.

While the rescue was successful, the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is urging hikers never to chase untrodden terrain and instead always stick to the trails and beachheads they’re used to.

“Designated trails are actively maintained and often have infrastructure in place to inform visitors and reduce the risk of injury,” Parks Canada said in a statement. “Safety is everyone’s responsibility. At Parks Canada, we do our part to help visitors have a safe and enjoyable experience by managing hazards and making safety information available to everyone. Hikers can do their part by staying on designated trails and being prepared.”

Chouinard-Nolet added that, along with sticking to designated trails, hikers must always be prepared before they head out to explore.

“It’s easy to place judgement on hikers who do sustain injuries, from my point of view it’s really, really important to remember that accidents do occur,” she said. “It’s really important for hikers in the National Park Reserve to stick the designated trails and waterfront facilities. Those are the areas where we do have have infrastructure in place to inform visitors and reduce the risk of injury and that includes areas like the Rainforest Loops, Long Beach, and Florencia Bay.”

She said anyone planning to explore the park reserve should make sure they tell somebody about their plans and expected return time, dress appropriately for the weather and be wary that weather can change quickly, and carry essential items, like food water, headlamps and a communications device.

“What can seemingly appear to be a short hike in an area that really isn’t very far from anything, can become much more involved if someone in your group suffers an injury,” she said. “By having all the essentials you’ll be in a better position to call for help, keep warm and dry and prevent the situation from getting worse.”

She added that the group the hiker was with had been prepared and able to reach out for help when a member of their party became injured.

“Those were key pieces to help reduce the severity of that incident and they did that very well,” she said.

Anyone interested in learning more about how to explore the Park Reserve’s beaches and forests safely can find further information at CoastSmart.ca and AdventureSmart.ca.



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

READ MORE: Storm watchers urged to be careful after two rescued from Ucluelet shoreline

READ MORE: Woman rescued after falling off Ucluelet’s Wild Pacific Trail

READ MORE: Dramatic rescue renews Tofino and Ucluelet’s pleas to bring lifeguards back to Long Beach

HikingPacific Rim National ParkParks CanadarescueTofino,ucluelet

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kyle Topping  skates for the Cowichan Valley Capitals during the 2015-16 BCHL season. (Citizen file)
Former Caps make news in pro ranks

Kyle Topping and Laurent Brossoit mark achievements

Duncan’s City Hall will get a seismic assessment this year. (File photo)
Duncan City Hall to get seismic assessment

City hopes grants will help pay for seismic upgrades

Vandals damaged a picnic table at Spectacle Lake Park with a chainsaw earlier this month. (Linda Mills photo)
Editorial: Vandals make victims of us all

It is infuriating when people target public property for vandalism.

Vees' Jack Barnes picked up his second goal of the season in the team's 5-0 win over Merritt on Saturday. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Cowichan Capitals in deadline dilemma with 20-year-old players

Hard decisions loom when BCHL may or may not resume play

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Nanaimo-raised singer Allison Crowe with director Zack Snyder on the set of ‘Man of Steel’ in 2011. Crowe performs a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah in the upcoming director’s cut of ‘Justice League.’ (Photo courtesy Clay Enos)
Island-raised musician records song for upcoming ‘Justice League’ film

Allison Crowe’s rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah closes out the movie

A 50-year-old man was stabbed in an altercation that started with a disagreement about physical distancing. (File photo)
Argument about physical distancing escalates to stabbing in Nanaimo

Victim, struck with coffee cup and then stabbed, suffers minor injuries; suspect arrested

A battery electric-hybrid ferry, pictured here, is expected to make its way to Vancouver Island in late 2021, says B.C. Ferries. (Submitted photo)
Hybrid ferry for Gabriola-Nanaimo route launches in shipyard in Europe

Two hybrid vessels to replace MV Quinsam by early 2022, says B.C. Ferries

The Pacheedaht First Nation is planning a $1-million expansion to its campground in Port Renfrew. (Pixabay photo)
Expanded camping announced for Pacheedaht Campground

$1-million project is part of the B.C. Rural Economic Recovery program

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

‘“We will vote to keep the government going’

The Port of Nanaimo has signed a 50-year-agreement with DP World around short-sea shipping operations at Duke Point Terminal. (News Bulletin file photo)
Lease ‘important first step’ in $105-million Nanaimo port expansion project

Port of Nanaimo and DP World sign 50-year shipping operations agreement for Duke Point

A BC Ferries worker out of Swartz Bay has tested positive for COVID-19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Swartz Bay ferry worker confirmed to have COVID-19

Employees in direct contact with worker now isolating

“Support your city” reads a piece of graffiti outside the Ministry of Finance office. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti ‘unacceptable’ says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

Most Read