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Hikers urged to stay on trails, use caution in Eaton Canyon

Authorities are urging hikers and recreation enthusiasts about to hit the Angeles National Forest to be safe and stay on trails
Authorities are urging hikers and recreation enthusiasts about to hit the Angeles National Forest to be safe and stay on trails.

Bill Niccum, assistant chief of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, said 60 hikers were rescued in the 190-acre Eaton Canyon Natural Area in the last 12 months. Thirty-five of them were injured and two died, he said. In 2010, only 50 rescues were required and there was only one fatality.

Leaders of the agencies that rescue hikers hosted a safety meeting at Eaton Canyon Natural Area, near Pasadena, this week, warning about risks on the trails and the dangers of websites and videos that encourage people to go off trails, the Pasadena Sun reported.

"Last year, we had almost 487,000 hikers. We want to urge people to stay in the trails," said Kim Bosell, superintendent of the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation. Bosell said the number of visitors to Eaton Canyon increased after the Station fire in 2009 prompted rangers to close large parts of the Angeles National Forest.

Officials offered warnings about some information and videos posted by visitors on social media sites such as Facebook and YouTube. "In social networks, they say the park [is] beautiful [and] interesting, but it's a little misleading," Niccum said. "Some areas are steep and hard."

The U.S. Forest Service's Michael McIntyre warned hikers to stay away from Eaton Canyon's second waterfall, the site of many injuries. The terrain is rugged and the ground is covered with slippery fragments of decomposed granite, he said.

Pasadena Fire Department Capt. Bob Taylor encouraged visitors to the park to carry plenty of water, wear good hiking boots and bring their cellphones in case of emergency.


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Photo: Authorities are urging hikers to use caution in Eaton Canyon. Credit: Raul Roa / Times Community News

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