Officials Considering Criminal Charges After Rescuing Hikers From Blue Ridge Mountains

by Tia Bailey
officials-considering-criminal-charges-after-rescuing-ill-prepared-hikers-from-blue-ridge-mountains
stock photo

A group of hikers was rescued by officials in Blue Ridge Mountains. The hikers were so unprepared officials are considering criminal charges.

The two men, Dylan Stahley, 25, of Windsor, N.H., and Jason Feierstin, 22, of Lowell, decided to go for a hike at Franconia Notch State Park back in June. Although they had planned to go, they were massively underprepared. According to MSN, the men only wore shorts and short sleeves, didn’t bring any other layers. They also had no equipment with them, or any food and water.

James Kneeland, a lieutenant with New Hampshire’s Fish and Game Department, is responsible for overseeing rescue missions. He said that he had never seen hikers come so unprepared.

“They had nothing,” Kneeland said.

The two men went off-trail while on their hike, and began to bushwack through the woods off of the Greenleaf Trail. They then attempted to climb Hounds Hump, a spot popular with rock climbers, but they didn’t have any equipment or gear to safely climb. Because of this, they eventually became separated, and one hiker ended up stuck on a ledge.

The trapped hiker called 911, and when asked where he was, he was unsure. He stated he thought they were near the Hangman Trail on Alpine Mountain. However, neither of these are in New Hampshire, where they actually were.

“It was just a horror show from start to finish,” Colonel Kevin Jordan, the Fish and Game department’s chief of law enforcement, said.

While park officials began to gather to go help, the trapped hiker called 53 more times, according to MSN. Each call, he pleaded with officials to hurry and come help. Eventually, the officials made it to the hiker, and experienced climbers helped him down.

Hikers Charged After Irresponsible Hike in Blue Ridge Mountains

The climber who rescued the man said that he would never take the route they did, even with proper equipment. He is also a professional climber.

Upon being rescued, the men gave no explanation or apologies. Instead, one of the men asked for an attorney. Kneeland shared all of this with Jordan, who decided that they were going to charge the men criminally for placing “another in danger of serious bodily injury.”

“The absolute goal of charging these guys — one of the primary goals — was to let people know that if you are this careless, if you show this blatant disregard for human safety, there’s a consequence for that and it’s a significant one,” Jordan said. “It’s a little wake-up call.”

The men were charged with reckless conduct. They were fined $200 and received a $48 penalty assessment after pleading guilty in exchange for a lesser charge. The situation serves as a warning for future hikers to come prepared.

Outsider.com