BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — Summertime weather sends hikers to wilderness trails around the Kansas City area.

Once in a while, hikers don’t come home, as witnessed during Monday’s tragic scene at a Jackson County Park. That unfortunate moment has outdoor guides emphasizing safety for hikers.

Capt. Mark Houston, who has 33 years of experience as a Jackson County Park ranger, said hiking in an area where there are miles and miles of trails isn’t always simple.

“If you’re not paying attention, and you’re on a new trail, suddenly you’re not going where you thought, and you could get turned around,” Houston said. ‘If you don’t plan, things can go wrong.”

On Monday, Houston’s park rangers were joined by Jackson County deputies, when the remains of Chuck Musselman were recovered.

Musselman had gotten lost during a Sunday night hike. Police reported Musselman has stayed in touch with a friend until his cell phone battery expired. Musselman’s family had no comment for FOX4 on Wednesday.

“I’d say a few times a year, someone gets lost or they get hurt and the different fire departments and rescue agencies come out. We have a search and rescue dog group. The sheriff’s department has drones. We can usually find people and get them help pretty quick,” Houston said.

Houston didn’t specifically address Monday’s incident. However, he recommends hikers make hydration their top priority, especially given our current hot weather. Sunscreen and bug spray are helpful, too.

Rangers recommend using mobile apps or traditional maps of trails and parks for navigation, as well as using traditional flashlights.

Houston said saving cell phone batteries for emergency purposes is a good idea.

Houston also recommends any hiker, regardless of their level of experience, to communicate with others — family, friends or neighbors — to tell them exactly where you’re going hiking, just in case mishaps should take place. It’s not clear if Musselman did that before his Sunday night hike.

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