The National Park Service is closing several hiking trails at Lake Mead National Recreation Area after a rash of heat-related medical emergencies and deaths.
The temporary closure order issued Thursday includes the Goldstrike Canyon and White Rock Canyon trails on both sides of the Colorado River downstream from Hoover Dam.
In 2013, the Park Service logged 17 incidents on those trails resulting in 31 patients, five medical transports and one death. So far this year, the same areas have seen 37 incidents involving 35 patients, 13 medical transports and three deaths.
“We have added signs to discourage summer hiking in these remote areas. Unfortunately, these signs are not having the desired effect,” said Patrick Gubbins, deputy superintendent for the recreation area. “People are miscalculating their ability to hike these strenuous trails in the summer, and it’s not only endangering their lives, it’s endangering the lives of other visitors and rescue crews.”
The Goldstrike Canyon trail in Nevada is a strenuous hike requiring bouldering and climbing that leads to the Goldstrike and Nevada hot springs and the Colorado River. The White Rock Canyon area in Arizona has multiple trails leading to Arizona Hot Spring, Liberty Bell Arch and the Colorado River.
The steep, largely unshaded trails will remain closed at least until Aug. 30.
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