Call for help can be challenging in the Smokies

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Calling for help in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park can prove difficult because of spotty cell phone service. The beautiful views draw millions of people to the Smoky mountains, but the hills cause problems with cell phone coverage.

Karla Lemoine learned the hard way on Wednesday when her husband and son tried to call while out on a hike.

"My son and my husband are hiking on the Appalachian Trail, and the girls and grandma and I are up here waiting to finish their hike," said Lemoine. "My husband just tried to call and leave me a voice message that kind of broke up on my phone, and it sounded like he wanted us to pick him up some place different than what we planned."

Park rangers said people making a trip to the mountains should be prepared for everything. They said the weather can be very different from lower elevations to the higher peaks. They said don't relay on cell phones but let people know when you should return from your hike.

"Know what you're getting into. This is a temperate rainforest, the Smokies is, so always be prepared for rain, bring extra food bring first aid kits," said Molly Schroer, spokesperson for Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Schroer said on the Appalachian Trail, a group call the Ridge Runners, travel the trail to look for people who may have issues. Often they can radio for help to park headquarters when a cell phone coverage isn't available.

"They interact with visitors and assess the trails and their conditions. help people in need and report back to us via the radio," said Schroer.

Schroer said check the weather forecast before making a hike and pack plenty of water and food to be safe.

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