Visitor injuries, trail violations keep Acadia rangers busy

Posted June 02, 2013, at 5:17 p.m.

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, Maine — Now that the park is fully open to visitors, and with above-normal temperatures in the region the past few days, activity in the park has stepped up — bringing a few accidents along with it.

On Saturday, a woman who injured her ankle at the summit of Pemetic Mountain had to be carried back down by emergency response personnel, according to Ranger Richard Rechholtz, and the day before that, they had to tend to a girl who crashed her bicycle on a carriage road.

Rechholtz said the woman who injured her ankle Saturday on Pemetic is 34 years old and from Massachusetts. In keeping with park policy, he did not release the woman’s name or other identifying details about her.

The woman was hiking with a male companion when she fell and possibly fractured her ankle, the ranger said. She could not put weight on it, so 18 people from the Acadia rangers’ office, MDI Search and Rescue and the Mount Desert Fire Department strapped her into a litter and carried her down. The effort took about two hours, he said.

The woman and the man she was with sought medical attention for her on their own, presumably at MDI Hospital in Bar Harbor, when they got back to their car at the Jordan Pond House, Rechholtz said.

On Friday, a young girl was injured when she crashed her bicycle while riding with a school group on a carriage path down a steep hill near the Acadia visitor’s center in Hulls Cove, according to the ranger. He declined to say how old the girl is but did say she is from Maine.

Rechholtz says the girl fractured her femur when her bicycle went off the carriage path and struck a tree. He said he was not sure if she was wearing a helmet at the time, but that she may have been.

The accident illustrates the need for bicyclists in the park to be careful not to go too fast on the gravel carriage paths.

“Speed can be an issue,” he said. “This was a very unfortunate incident.”

Not all trouble that park visitors get into is accidental, he added. On May 30, two couples who had driven hours to visit Acadia deliberately walked past a closure sign on Precipice Trail, which has been blocked off to hikers because of nesting peregrine falcons near the trail, Rechholtz said.

Park staff observed the group hiking up the trail and, when the group returned awhile later, rangers met them in the park lot, Rechholtz said. He did not identify the hikers but said one couple is from Quebec City and the other is from Germany. Each couple received a violation, he said, which carries a $75 fine.

They had come to the national park specifically to hike the steep trail, Rechholtz said, and did not want to have to pass up their reason for coming so far. But no one is allowed on the trail while the birds, which are considered an endangered species in Maine, are trying to reproduce.

“We’re here to protect the resources of the park,” which includes the animals that might just be passing through, Rechholtz said.

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