STRAWBERRY, AZ — The Gila County Sheriff’s Office has criticized a hiker who needed to be rescued from Fossil Creek over the weekend.
“This hiker failed to take the posted warnings seriously as she and seven others had to be rescued,” the sheriff’s office said in a post on Facebook. “Definitely not appropriate footwear for the ten mile hike.”
The sheriff’s office said the hiker was one of a group of eight people who needed to be rescued on Sunday.
Fossil Creek is a popular destination for hikers, with 1,500 feet of elevation gain over a 4.5-mile hike to a swimming spot. With nearly 100,000 visitors each year, the area’s increasing popularity has made it more difficult for first responders trying to help those who need assistance.
The area is so busy, officials require people to reserve parking permits in advance from May 1 to October 1.
The sheriff’s office says 200 people have to be rescued from the trail each year, and recommends people bring 1.5 gallons of water per person, wear sturdy hiking shoes, and are prepared to hike ten miles in 100-degree heat at 6,000 feet of elevation.
The Coconino National Forest is considering several options to improve the available facilities, though a final determination has not been made.