Hiking preparation: Think Before You Trek

Stay safe in NSW national parks

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is encouraging all park visitors planning a remote adventure or multi-day walk this year to Think Before You TREK.

TREK is a bush safety initiative between NPWS and NSW Police Force that helps park visitors plan for a safe and enjoyable bushwalking experience or remote adventure.

With domestic travel and outdoor experiences currently soaring in popularity, NPWS is urging experienced walkers to re-familiarise themselves with safety tools, especially if travelling alone, and encouraging new and less-experienced adventurers to include safety in their planning.

Take enough water, food, equipment and first aid supplies

Think Before You TREK

Bushwalkers and adventurers can use this simple guide and the NPWS tools available to help stay safe:

Take enough water, food, equipment and first aid supplies

Register your trip – Use the online Trip Intention Form on the NPWS website to record where you’re going, who you’re with and when you expect to return

Emergency Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) – Consider taking a PLB from one of six locations at Kosciuszko and Blue Mountains national parks

Keep to your planned route – Get the free NSW National Parks app to download park maps at home and access them when you’re in a national park without mobile reception

Submitting a Trip Intention Form (TIF) is a simple way for walkers and adventurers to provide their trip details to emergency services should a search and rescue response be needed. Lodging a TIF does not prompt an automatic rescue – a walker’s nominated emergency contact must notify Police that a friend or family member has failed to return, who will then use the TIF to plan a search and rescue response.

Emergency Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)

For adventurers heading into remote locations, NPWS encourages use of Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs). These are hand-held devices that, when activated, send a signal to emergency services with the location and function where there is no mobile phone connectivity. They are available for free hire from Blue Mountains Heritage Centre, Katoomba Police Station, Springwood Police Station, Snowy Regions Visitor Centre, Tumut Visitor Centre and Perisher Visitor Office.

For further information on TREK visit nswparks.info/trek

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service work in conjunction with NSW Police on this program – they conduct between 100-120 search and rescue operations each year in the Blue Mountains alone! They would like to educate people further about the safety tools available to them before they set out on an adventure.

I urge anyone with a passion to explore, to stop and take a moment to consider the challenge. Prepare for the worst, ‘walk safe’ and ‘leave no trace‘. Never take your safety for granted.

Image credit: NPWS J Spencer and R Mulally

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