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Editorial: On trail safety, we urge an ounce of prevention

The untamed nature that draws us into the mountains can be as dangerous as it is beautiful.
North Shore Rescue volunteers train on long-line rescue system. | Silvester Law

We share in the community’s grief over the death of Keen Lau, the West Vancouver man who drowned while trying to save his dog Loki from the rushing waters of Cypress Creek on Friday. It is a sad reminder that the untamed nature that draws us into the mountains can be as dangerous as it is beautiful.

Already there are calls for the District of West Vancouver to do something to make the creek safer – mandatory leashes for dogs, more austere signs, higher fences. There may be some merit to this. But Lynn Canyon has all of those precautions in place, and rescue crews were still out there on Sunday to save a man from drowning. And North Shore Rescue too was called out four times over the busy long weekend.

There is an element of risk anytime we step onto the trails. The best that we can do is educate ourselves and our loved ones about those risks and learn how to mitigate them.

This summer, before you set out for any backcountry adventure, we urge you to seek an ounce of prevention. BC AdventureSmart should be your first stop. Every story we publish about North Shore Rescue includes public safety messaging about how the call could have been avoided in the first place.

Still, even those who are well equipped and experienced can run into trouble, and we are so grateful for the expertise and commitment of our rescue professionals, both paid and unpaid, for the work they do bringing the lost and injured safely back home.

What are your thoughts? Send us a letter via email by clicking here or post a comment below.

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