Lost Dominica hikers prompt issuing of guidelines

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The management of Waitukubuli National Trail have released guidelines for hikers following the path after a group of 13 walkers went missing for a number of hours.

The hikers, who WIC News understands were from the Bourne Seventh Day Adventist Church, were reported missing on Sunday evening. They left to follow the trail at 5am that day.

Local media reported that the group were located just before 8am on Monday morning near Morne Apion.

They told authorities that they weren’t in fact lost but instead got into difficulties are one of the party was injured.

In light of the incident, which saw a search party head out late at night to find the missing walkers, the Waitukubuli National Trail Management Unit is offering some useful tips to the public.

“Inform the Trail Management Unit of your plans to hike in advance, whether alone or as part of a group,” they said in a statement.

“Every hike on the trail, whether by residents or non-residents, must be registered.”

“The Trail Management Unit encourages all local groups to keep hiking and promoting awareness of the Caribbean’s first long-distance walking trail.

“We also extend our profound gratitude to the hiking community for their continued partnership and support.”

Tours of the research and interpretation facility at Pont Casse are encouraged and include a hike briefing.

This covers various sections, including an interview on fitness levels or critical health conditions of the individuals, hiking tips, the ‘dos and don’ts’ and recommendations for camping or accommodation.

When hiking, Dominica’s police, fire and ambulance services must be informed, the Waitukubuli National Trail Management Unit stressed.

The full guidelines

  • Inform the Trail Management Unit of your plans to hike in advance, whether alone or as part of a group. The Unit can be contacted by calling 440-6125, emailing wntp@dominica.gov.dm or visiting the office at Pont Cassé on the Dr Nicholas Liverpool Highway.
  • Every hike on the trail, whether by residents or non-residents, must be registered. This information can also be found on our website (waitukubulitrail.com)
  • Tours of our research and interpretation facility at Pont Cassé are encouraged and include a tour of our interpretation room, a nature and animation tour and a hike briefing. This important hike briefing covers various sections, including an interview on fitness levels or critical health conditions of the individuals, hiking tips, the ‘dos and don’ts, and recommendations for camping or accommodation. Segment descriptions will also be given as there are four levels of difficulty on the Waitukubuli National Trail. There are ‘Easy’, ‘Moderate’, ‘Difficult’, and ‘Very Difficult’ segments – one for every fitness level.
  • With sufficient notice, a member of the Trail Management Unit can be available to perform hike briefings with groups prior to hiking.
  • There are no fees for Dominican residents to hike the trail. Trail passes for non-residents are categorised as follows: Day pass (US$12, to hike one or more segments within one day), special pass (US$10, for organised tour packages and promotional events), and 15-day pass (US$40, to hike all 14 segments within 15 days).
  • We strongly recommend using a trained trail guide when hiking, particularly for the remote and very difficult Segments eight and nine. The Trail Management Unit can assist with providing a list of trained guides and this information is also available on our website under Resources.
  • When hiking, the Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force and Fire and Ambulance Service of Dominica must be informed.
  • The Waitukubuli National Trail user guide book is a valuable resource to own. It is available for purchase at the WNT headquarters at Pont Cassé and at the Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division located on Valley Road, Roseau.
  • Please note that there are several cellular network dead zones within remote areas of the Waitukubuli National Trail, so please plan accordingly.
  • Always begin hikes early in the morning. It is recommended that a hike should begin no later than 9am to allow sufficient time to complete the hike before nightfall. However, it is recommended that hikes to the ‘Very Difficult’ level adventure (segments eight and nine) begin no later than 7am.

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