Park visitor starts the New Year up a tree


Two separate incidents on Wednesday, Jan. 1, in the foothills region of Sequoia National Park were a reminder to national park personnel that rescue skills may be required at any time in a variety of scenarios. 

The first incident was an all too familiar case of a fisherman climbing down a steep embankment to access the pools in the Kaweah River below the Generals Highway.

The call for help came shortly after 10 a.m. for a 61-year-old man from Visalia who fell as he was trying to negotiate a well-worn social trail that led from a turnout down to the river. Park personnel located the fall victim below the roadway one-half mile up canyon from the Foothills Visitor Center at Ash Mountain.

After examining the man at the scene it was apparent that he had a severe ankle injury. With the assistance of Tulare County Fire Department personnel, the man was carried on a litter up to a waiting ambulance. 

The victim suffered a broken ankle in the fall. He was transported by ambulance to Kaweah Delta Medical Center for treatment.

Later that evening, at approximately 8 p.m., a 20-year-old female from Irvine who was camping at Potwisha climbed a mature oak to reportedly get a better look at the starry night sky. After climbing over onto a sycamore, she realized there was no way down or back to the other tree.

The woman, who wasn’t far from her campsite, called out to friends for help and they called 911. When a park ranger responded to the scene he found the woman perched in the tree 60 feet from the ground.

The ladder from the parks’ fire truck only reached 24 feet so personnel from maintenance were summoned to assist. A maintenance worker in tree-climbing gear carried a harness and helmet up the tree and assisted the stranded woman in climbing back down to safety.

The woman was unhurt and obviously more informed on one place where not to view the incredible Sequoia Park night sky.  

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