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Increased attendance creates spike in rescues at Zion National park

Increased attendance creates spike in rescues at Zion National park (Photo: DJ Bolerjack / KUTV)

(KUTV) Zion National Park has seen an increase in attendance as of late, as well as an increased amount of search and rescues in the park.

With the summer months ahead park officials are offering a few helpful tips when it comes to exploring the southern Utah terrain.

Andrew Fitzgerald, SAR coordinator at Zion National Park said 2015 was a busy year for rescuers, he added in May of 2015 they had 16 searches and as of today they have 17 so far.

"It's looking to be another busy year," Fitzgerald said. "We had 105 SAR incidents last year from an average of the mid 70's from the years prior to that. So it was a pretty good leap for us."

Fitzgerald said it's important for visitors to keep on mind what their limitations are and to make sure to have a set plan of what you're going to do and where you're going to be so friends and family know where to find you.

"So getting good information, being prepared," Fitzgerald said is a necessity when taking on the big trails and sites like the Subway and the Narrows. He said that one thing forget when they're out exploring is that they are still in the wilderness.

Fitzgerald said when the weather gets nicer it usually attracts more daring visitors to the park causing some problems every once in a while.

"A lot of our rescues come from people doing sort of irresponsible things like jumping off a rock into a pool and breaking an ankle." Fitzgerald said and adds that people need to be ready for the unpredictable. "Even though you're in a national park the consequences are severe...it could take a long time to rescue you and there's actually no guarantee that you will be rescued."

If you'd like to learn more about what you can do to keep safe in the park click right here.

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