Las Cruces offers tips for safe outdoor adventures

Public Safety Statement for the City of Las Cruces

Warmer temperatures and longer days demand more outdoor adventures especially in the mountains around Las Cruces, a city that sees more than 320 days of sunshine each year.

Hikers, bikers, campers, and 4WD enthusiasts should take precautions to avoid an accident—or worse—while exploring the great outdoors. What seems like the beginning of a beautiful adventure can turn out to be downright horrific with temperature fluctuations of more than 40 degrees, an unexpected change in weather or some unexpected change of plans.

On May 16, 2021, 24 hikers had to be rescued after the group became separated, disoriented and stranded during a trek in the Organ Mountains. Some hikers suffered relatively minor injuries—mostly scrapes and bruises—and some complained of dehydration. One hiker was taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The city of Las Cruces suggests all outdoor adventurers follow these and other safety guidelines:

  • Know your capabilities and the terrain you will be in.
  • Plan your trip carefully taking into account weather reports, expected duration, and other conditions you may encounter during your adventure.
  • Don’t hike, bike, backpack or adventure alone.
  • Keep groups together unless necessary for survival.
  • Follow all signs and avoid deviating from existing lanes.
  • Carry a fully charged cell phone or satellite phone in case of emergency. Avoid draining the cell phone battery by overusing the camera function.
  • Pack the power bank and appropriate cord to recharge the exhausted cell phone battery.
  • Carry a flashlight and extra batteries even if your flight is during the day.
  • Avoid pushing daylight to enjoy a gorgeous sunset or full moon. Once the sun goes down, it’s hard to find your directions on uncharted trails.
  • Take plenty of drinking water and food to keep you safe during the flight.
  • Keep in mind that warm daytime temperatures and relatively high altitudes use energy quickly.
  • Wear or carry appropriate clothing for the trip. It’s best to wear layers that can be easily removed – or added – depending on the circumstances.
  • Wear an appropriate hat or head covering.
  • Wear comfortable hiking boots or hiking boots that are appropriate for the terrain to be covered.
  • Be aware of changing weather conditions and the possibility of flash floods of rain occurring upstream from your location.
  • Be extremely careful not to light or use a fire.
  • Beware of snakes that are most active during warm weather and with higher temperatures during the day. Snakebite victims should seek help immediately.
  • Beware of wild animals known to frequent the Organs and other nearby areas: bobcats, mountain lions, wolves, foxes, deer, and the African oryx. Never approach or attempt to handle a wild animal.
  • If you are hiking with a dog, consider their needs and safety requirements for the trip.
  • Refrain from allowing your dog to run off a leash as it may chase wild animals and could easily get lost or injured.
  • Don’t overstep the limits of your car (or your driving skills).
  • Ensure that vehicles, tires and parts are in good condition for the terrain.
  • Watch your fuel gauge to make sure you don’t run out of gas.
  • Stay on the developed roads or dedicated tracks.
  • Respect the signs and avoid driving on private property or designated wilderness areas.
  • Do not attempt to cross dangerous waters.
  • Wear seat belts or seat belts correctly at all times when the vehicle is in motion.
  • If you are stranded, it is recommended that you first try to seek help. Leaving the car and walking for help can be more dangerous than staying where you are and waiting for help to arrive.
  • Tell a friend or relative where you are going and when you expect to return. If you don’t come back on time, they should know how to contact the authorities.
  • Dispose of waste properly and use the “Pack it In – Pack it Out” slogan to help keep the wilderness pristine.

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