Wet weather blamed for injuries in Acadia National Park

Posted June 29, 2012, at 4:52 p.m.

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, Maine — Wet weather is responsible for some incidents this week in Acadia National Park in which hikers have slipped and injured themselves, according to a park official.

Park rangers and other emergency response personnel have come to the assistance of four hikers in the past three days. Of those hikers, three lost their footing while making their way along the trails, Ranger Ed Pontbriand said Friday.

“People need to be careful because it’s been raining a lot,” Pontbriand said.

On Friday, a 50-year-old man from southern Maine was hiking near the Brown Mountain gatehouse off Route 198 when he slipped and banged his leg shortly before noon, the ranger said. He declined to release the names of any of the people injured in the park.

Rangers drove in on carriage roads to get the man, who couldn’t walk with his injury, he said.

“He had a deep laceration on his shin,” Pontbriand said.

The man was taken to Mount Desert Island Hospital in Bar Harbor, where he was expected to get stitches Friday afternoon, he said.

On Thursday, two people had to be carried out by response personnel. One of them slipped while hiking near Otter Cliffs, Pontbriand said, while the other grew faint from a medical issue and fell at the top of Cadillac Mountain, hitting his head.

The hiker at Otter Cliffs is a 42 year-old man from Pikesville, Md., he said.

He broke his wrist in the fall around 2 p.m. and, after rangers applied a splint, was taken to MDI Hospital for treatment.

The other man, a 58-year-old York Beach resident, was on the concrete path that circles the summit on Cadillac when he grew light-headed and passed out, according to Pontbriand.

He was taken by Bar Harbor Ambulance to MDI Hospital and then transferred by LifeFlight to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. The ranger said he did not know what condition the York Beach man was in.

On Wednesday, a 47-year-old woman from Newton, N.C. was hiking at the top of Beech Mountain when she slipped on wet rocks and broke her ankle, Pontbriand said. After securing her leg in a splint, rangers and other response personnel carried her in a litter to the parking lot, where Mount Desert Ambulance loaded her in and drove her to MDI Hospital for treatment.

Pontbriand stressed that people should be prepared for existing conditions and possible contingencies when they venture into Acadia, whether it is on foot or by other means. Persistent moisture can cause algae to bloom on rocks and tree roots, he said, which can pose a hazard to hikers.

“When roots get wet, they get slippery,” he said.

People who go on hikes in Acadia should wear appropriate footwear such as boots or sturdy shoes with a good tread. Sandals, he said, are not good hiking gear. He also recommended taking a map, a bottle of water and a headlamp, in case hikers get lost and caught by nightfall.

Pontbriand said the park has been busy the past several days and is expected to be so for at least the next week. He said hiking injuries in the park are typical this time of year. He didn’t know whether there have been more injured hikers in Acadia this year than there were at the end of June in 2011, he said, but added there might be a slight increase.

“It goes in waves” he said of emergency calls.

Aside from responding to injured hikers, rangers are taking other steps to help ensure safety in the park, Pontbriand said. Fireworks might be legal in some municipalities in Maine, he said, but they are not legal anywhere in Acadia.

“If we find fireworks in the park, we will confiscate them,” he said.

Follow BDN reporter Bill Trotter on Twitter at @billtrotter.

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