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Two mountain bike riders rescued, prompting hiking/biking reminder from EPFD

Fire crews and rescue units had a busy Saturday afternoon, rescuing two mountain bikers from a Northeast El Paso trail.

At approximately 4:09 p.m. on Saturday Sept. 26, the El Paso Fire Department was dispatched to Chuck Heinrich Park when two mountain bicyclists felt ill and called. The first unit arrived on the scene at 4:11 p.m. and immediately requested the Combined Search and Rescue team, who was able to reach the two cyclists at 5:43 p.m.

Firefighters gave medical treatment to one 25-year-old male at the scene and then transported the two cyclist down from the trail in an off-road ComSAR vehicle. The two cyclists and the ComSAR team were able to make it safely down from the trail at 6:45 p.m.

There were no injuries to cyclists or ComSAR personnel. A total of 4 units and 12 personnel from the El Paso Fire Department responded to this incident. El Paso Police and Texas Parks and Wildlife assisted in this incident.

The El Paso Fire Department and Texas Parks and Wildlife would like to remind the public to practice these safety recommendations when planning outdoor hiking/biking activities.

  • Plan before you go. Know rules and regulations. Also, do not hike beyond your capabilities.
  • Stay on the trail always. Walking off-trail increases your chance of suffering an injury, getting lost, or encountering dangerous wildlife. In addition, desert soils are fragile. Cutting across switchbacks tramples vegetation, erodes the soil and eventually destroys the trail.
  • Have a cell or mobile phone for emergencies, but do not rely on them only. Carry with you a whistle, mirror, flag, flashlight, flare or other means to signal your location.
  • Be aware of the types of wildlife in the area by searching the web or calling the ranger station.
  • Take plenty of drinking water (more than you may think you will need) and light snacks.
  • Check weather conditions and wear proper clothing accordingly. Avoid doing activities during extreme temperatures. Seek shelter in the event of strong winds and thunderstorms.
  • Protect yourself from the sun. Use sunblock lotion, wear a long sleeve shirt and long pants, and use a cap or hat.

For a list of more detailed hiking, biking and camping tips, the public is encouraged to visit: http://www.elpasotexas.gov/fire-department/divisions/fire-prevention.

Author: El Paso Fire Department

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3 comments

  1. Bicycles should not be allowed in any natural area. They are inanimate objects and have no rights. There is also no right to mountain bike. That was settled in federal court in 1996: http://mjvande.nfshost.com/mtb10.htm . It’s dishonest of mountain bikers to say that they don’t have access to trails closed to bikes. They have EXACTLY the same access as everyone else — ON FOOT! Why isn’t that good enough for mountain bikers? They are all capable of walking….

    A favorite myth of mountain bikers is that mountain biking is no more harmful to wildlife, people, and the environment than hiking, and that science supports that view. Of course, it’s not true. To settle the matter once and for all, I read all of the research they cited, and wrote a review of the research on mountain biking impacts (see http://mjvande.nfshost.com/scb7.htm ). I found that of the seven studies they cited, (1) all were written by mountain bikers, and (2) in every case, the authors misinterpreted their own data, in order to come to the conclusion that they favored. They also studiously avoided mentioning another scientific study (Wisdom et al) which did not favor mountain biking, and came to the opposite conclusions.

    Those were all experimental studies. Two other studies (by White et al and by Jeff Marion) used a survey design, which is inherently incapable of answering that question (comparing hiking with mountain biking). I only mention them because mountain bikers often cite them, but scientifically, they are worthless.

    Mountain biking accelerates erosion, creates V-shaped ruts, kills small animals and plants on and next to the trail, drives wildlife and other trail users out of the area, and, worst of all, teaches kids that the rough treatment of nature is okay (it’s NOT!). What’s good about THAT?

    To see exactly what harm mountain biking does to the land, watch this 5-minute video: http://vimeo.com/48784297.

    In addition to all of this, it is extremely dangerous: http://mjvande.nfshost.com/mtb_dangerous.htm .

    For more information: http://mjvande.nfshost.com/mtbfaq.htm .

    The common thread among those who want more recreation in our parks is total ignorance about and disinterest in the wildlife whose homes these parks are. Yes, if humans are the only beings that matter, it is simply a conflict among humans (but even then, allowing bikes on trails harms the MAJORITY of park users — hikers and equestrians — who can no longer safely and peacefully enjoy their parks).

    The parks aren’t gymnasiums or racetracks or even human playgrounds. They are WILDLIFE HABITAT, which is precisely why they are attractive to humans. Activities such as mountain biking, that destroy habitat, violate the charter of the parks.

    Even kayaking and rafting, which give humans access to the entirety of a water body, prevent the wildlife that live there from making full use of their habitat, and should not be allowed. Of course those who think that only humans matter won’t understand what I am talking about — an indication of the sad state of our culture and educational system.

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