What to know before going outdoors | Local News
Memorial Day weekend traditionally brings more people outside to explore the many natural areas of southern Illinois.
Laura Lecher, recreation, engineering and land staff officer at Shawnee National Forest, said the Shawnee National Forest grounds include stunning views of cliffs and waterfalls.
But sheer rocky cliffs, like those found at the Garden of the Gods, also provide opportunities for falls.
“Unfortunately, the great outdoors are dangerous,” Lecher said.
In any given year, several to half a dozen people suffer serious injuries from falls while visiting the Shawnee, according to Lecher. Injury can even lead to death.
Fern Clyffe State Park, also known for its rocky cliffs and waterfalls, has one or two serious falls with reported injuries each year, according to site manager Jay Massey.
Both have tips to consider before heading to your favorite natural spot.
“First, always make sure someone knows where you are going, what trails you will be taking and when you will be back,” Lecher said.
The most important thing to do according to Massey is to stay on the designated and marked trails. He said people make their own trails when they try to approach cliffs or waterfalls, but there’s a reason the marked trails don’t come close. This reason is to ensure the safety of people.