Teenager dies while hiking Lost Valley Trail in Arkansas with church group


A teenager died following a fall in an Arkansas national park over the weekend.

The unidentified 16-year-old boy was hiking with a church group when he left the trail, said Cassie Branstetter, public information officer at the National Park Service in Buffalo National River.

“Towards the entrance to the Eden Cave area, he decided to leave the established trail and go climb over the steep and rugged rock surface of this area and unfortunately lost his footing and fell out of that space.” Branstetter said in a telephone interview. .

The boy suffered head and spine injuries. Despite efforts to save lives, he died at the scene, Branstetter said.

The group was near the end of Lost Eden Valley, a 2.3 mile trail, when a 911 call arrived around 1 p.m. Saturday.

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“We are very grateful to the many agencies and volunteers who came to help with the incident that happened on Saturday,” said Branstetter. “There was a technical use of ropes which were to be used to bring the individual from where he had fallen.”

Park officials offered their condolences to the boy’s family and friends.

“Buffalo National River is a beautiful place to recreate,” said Branstetter. “It’s also a wild and rugged place to recreate, so staying on the established trails will be the safest way to enjoy the outdoor experience here.”

This is the first death to have occurred in this area of ​​the trail network for 2021, officials said.

Sara Karnes is an outdoor reporter for the Springfield News-Leader. Follow his adventures on Twitter and Instagram @Sara_Karnes. Got a story to tell? Email him at [email protected]