'Stupid Hiker' Restrictions in Arizona Draw Heated National Debate 

click to enlarge COPYRIGHT: JAYZYNISM/123RF

A national debate is emerging among public safety officials and outdoor enthusiasts after city officials in Phoenix, Ariz. proposed hiking-trail closures if summer temperatures reach extreme highs. The proposal was dubbed the "stupid hiker law," similar to "stupid motorist laws" which penalize drivers for circumventing barricades to drive through flooded roadways.

This morning's New York Times reports the number of hiker rescues from mountains trails in and around Phoenix have gone up every year since 2013. This year alone, 141 people required rescuing, which is why city officials proposed trail closures if temperatures hit 110 degrees. 

When hikers derided the proposal, arguing the city might next threaten to close bike lanes when it got too hot, officials dialed back their restrictions, they did approve prohibiting hikers from taking their pets on trails when temperatures reach 100 degrees. The Times reports on the same afternoon the new restriction passed, a 23-year-old hiker was rescued from a city trail. The temperature that day was 97 degrees.
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