New Hampshire Hikers Fined for Reckless Conduct After Going ‘Exploring’ Off-Trail, Getting Stuck on Cliff

by Emily Morgan

If you’ve ever wondered what not to do on your next hiking trip, keep reading. Recently, two hikers found themselves in hot water when a rescue team had to save them after they wandered off the trail in Franconia Notch State Park in New Hampshire.

According to New Hampshire authorities, two hikers have been fined for reckless conduct after hiking in a restricted area on June 11. As a result, they got themselves stranded on a cliff with no way to get down.

Per reports from the New Hampshire Fish and Game Law Enforcement Division, Jason Feierstin, 22, of Lowell, Massachusetts, and Dylan Stahley, 25, of Windsor, New Hampshire, have since been fined $248 each after both men pleaded guilty to reckless conduct charges on August 9.

“When people put themselves into hazardous situations needlessly or by being ill-prepared and put rescuers in harm’s way, they need to be held accountable,” Lt. James Kneeland said about the incident.

The charges come after a rescue team was deployed after one hiker called 911 for help around 2:15 p.m. According to the hiker, he called because he was “stuck” in a “very dangerous position” on the side of a mountain in Franconia Notch State Park, according to the agency.

Before, the two hikers had gone off the trails and began climbing the steep ledges, telling 911 dispatchers that they “were exploring” the area.

According to rescuers, neither hiker knew the area very well. Moreover, they had left the trail without ropes, harnesses, or climbing equipment. They also were without the proper footwear for such steep and rugged terrain.

Rescue team puts themselves at risk to save knucklehead hikers

According to the agency, the team found one hiker laying under a ledge to keep from falling off the cliff. However, his friend continued to climb around the dangerous terrain.

The friend eventually called for help after he was unable to find a way off the cliff. Rescuers finally found the friend. However, the team said he couldn’t take them to the hiker stranded on the ledge.

In addition, even professional rock-climbing guides part of the rescue mission could not reach the stranded hiker. As a result, they were forced to climb the dangerous area to a spot above his location. He later descended to the ledge where they believed the man was trapped.

After five hours of trying to find the man, rescuers eventually found the hiker using a drone. After they located him, they all had to begin the challenging trek down.

When it was all said and done, the rescue operation lasted about seven hours, concluding just before 9:40 p.m. According to the agency, the hikers’ “reckless actions placed the rescuers in danger of serious bodily injury.”