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Plan on not getting lost when out in the bush, OPP advises

After responding to a call for assistance during a family hike, police are urging residents to take steps not to get lost when planning a hike or hunting trip.
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THUNDER BAY — Going on a short family hike or planning a backcountry hunt or adventure has many facets, including planning not to get lost.

Often, planning and packing what to eat are high on the list, as well as what to wear if the weather changes and sleeping arrangements, but police are urging residents to put more emphasis on not getting lost.

The warning comes after a family in Thunder Bay recently found themselves turned around during a hike. Luckily, the group was able to contact OPP for help finding their way back to the trailhead. 

Officers showed up in the area of Highway 61 and Valley Road West on Sunday around 4 p.m. and used their emergency sirens and lights as beacons for the family to follow back. The family was located safely and without injuries. 

PC Joel Eppinghaus with the OPP says there are a few things people can do to avoid getting lost when heading down a trail.

"My first tip would have to be, plan your trip, tell your friends where you're going," he said, suggesting hikers provide friends or family with either a map or a GPS location of the area where you'll be hiking or exploring or hunting.

The constable pointed to a number of free map apps, even ones that can be used offline if there's no cellular signal. 

"When using these free maps (like Google Maps or Bing), take screenshots and print out the area so you have a birds-eye view of where you’ll be," he suggested. "Better yet, laminate all your printed maps so that they are water-proof from the rain."

Eppinhaus said that many online maps have a download feature that hikers can use without a cell signal. 

By following these tips, the officer said chances of getting lost are slim, but if it does occur, your chances of being found are high because of the preventative steps taken during the planning process.

Katie Nicholls

About the Author: Katie Nicholls

Originally from central Ontario, Katie has moved here to further her career in the media industry.
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