Forest services urge safety for Memorial Day hikers

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS (KFVS) - Shawnee National Forest rangers are urging people planning to go out to forest trails and camp in the great outdoors this Memorial Day weekend to practice safety while enjoying the forest.

This comes after several incidences over the past week, including the death of a Pope County woman. 

Sue Hirsch, the public affairs assistant at Shawnee National Forest Rangers Headquarters in Harrisburg, said many tourists always come to this area to enjoy the parks for Memorial Day.

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"This is one of our busiest weekend of the year. People are of course ready to get out and enjoy the warm weather after winter time," she said.

To stay safe she recommends that people wear appropriate footwear and don't lose footing on more treacherous trails, particularly while it's wet when rocks get slippery.

She also recommends bringing enough provisions, particularly water, for however long you plan on being out. It's also good to be aware of your own physical and mental limitations, she said.

Above all, she recommends you know where you're going, which you only need information packets available in kiosks in front of ranger stations or online.

Finally, she added that you should never go into the woods without a charged cell phone, despite spotty service, and always let someone know where you're going before you leave.

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