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Coronavirus: Alberta Skiers and Hikers Still Calling Rescues

Backcountry users put search and rescue techs in harm's way during a global pandemic when requiring a rescue. Please stay close to home.

Alberta Parks has put out a call for all backcountry users to stay home, as search and rescue crews continue to get calls. Kananaskis Country Public Safety Section will do a few rescues a day during peak season, and sometimes over a dozen on weekends, and during the coronavirus pandemic they’re still averaging one a day.

Alberta Parks posted on Facebook: “If a vehicle is required to access Kananaskis Country, do not go. Our small search and rescue team is currently averaging one rescue per day. These activities place emergency staff at risk and you’re using resources needed for the pandemic if you require medical care. Rescues are a regular part of our work in Kananaskis that do not end up in the news. In just the first week after the vehicle suspension was imposed, our public safety team responded to an injured skier, unprepared hikers in distress, a helicopter forced to land due to poor weather and three separate searches for lost individuals. Thank you for remaining close to home at this time and helping us protect our small rescue team.”

Canada’s national parks and most provincial parks are currently closed until at least June 1. Why? Because opening them would encourage long-distance travel by those who want to visit, which breaks the stay-at-home orders by the federal government. As of today, Alberta has nearly 3,000 cases of coronavirus and 59 deaths.