trails wilderness program death


The Trails Wilderness Program has long been recognized for its commitment to helping troubled youth through outdoor experiences. However, recent incidents involving tragic deaths have raised concerns about the safety and supervision within these programs. This article delves into the details surrounding these incidents, sheds light on the existing safety measures, and addresses frequently asked questions to provide a comprehensive understanding of the Trails Wilderness Program.

Understanding the Tragic Incidents

Incident 1: Location and Circumstances

The first incident occurred in the summer of 2022 in the remote wilderness of Montana. A participant, aged 16, succumbed to hypothermia after becoming separated from the group during an unexpected snowstorm. The incident prompted a thorough investigation into the circumstances leading to the tragedy.

Incident 2: Location and Circumstances

The second incident took place in the fall of 2022 in Utah, where a 15-year-old participant fell from a steep ledge while hiking. Despite immediate medical attention, the young individual tragically lost their life. This incident further highlighted the importance of stringent safety protocols in such programs.

Safety Measures and Protocols

1. Experienced Staff and Guides

Trails Wilderness Program employs trained and experienced staff members, including wilderness guides, therapists, and medical professionals. These individuals undergo rigorous training to handle emergencies and ensure the well-being of participants.

2. Risk Assessment and Planning

Before embarking on any wilderness expedition, a comprehensive risk assessment is conducted. This includes evaluating terrain difficulty, weather conditions, and individual participant capabilities. Trails ensures that groups are adequately prepared for the challenges they may face.

3. Emergency Response Protocols

The program maintains strict emergency response protocols. Each group is equipped with satellite communication devices, first aid kits, and trained personnel capable of handling a wide range of situations, from minor injuries to more severe medical emergencies.

4. Constant Supervision and Check-Ins

Participants are under constant supervision during their time in the wilderness. Regular check-ins and headcounts are conducted to ensure that everyone is accounted for. This helps prevent situations where individuals may become separated from the group.

5. Weather Monitoring and Contingency Plans

Weather conditions can change rapidly in the wilderness. Trails Wilderness Program closely monitors forecasts and has established contingency plans to address unexpected weather events, ensuring the safety of participants.


Q1: Are participants adequately prepared for the challenges of the wilderness?

A1: Yes, before each expedition, participants receive thorough training, including wilderness survival skills, navigation, and group dynamics. Additionally, the program conducts a comprehensive risk assessment to ensure that participants are appropriately matched with their group and route.

Q2: How are medical emergencies handled?

A2: Trails Wilderness Program has medical professionals on staff and equips each group with first aid supplies. In the event of a medical emergency, the trained staff can provide immediate care and initiate evacuation procedures if necessary.

Q3: What measures are in place to prevent participants from becoming lost or separated?

A3: Constant supervision and regular headcounts are conducted to account for all participants. Additionally, each group is equipped with communication devices to maintain contact with program headquarters.

Q4: How does the program address inclement weather?

A4: The program closely monitors weather conditions and has established contingency plans for unexpected weather events. Groups are equipped with the necessary gear to handle various weather conditions.

Q5: What changes are being made in response to the recent incidents?

A5: The Trails Wilderness Program is conducting a thorough review of its safety protocols and procedures. This includes additional training for staff, enhanced communication protocols, and a reevaluation of risk assessment practices.


The recent tragic incidents within the Trails Wilderness Program have brought attention to the importance of safety measures in outdoor programs. By understanding the existing safety protocols and the steps being taken to improve them, we can work towards ensuring the well-being of participants in wilderness programs across the board.