National Park

Missing hiker found in Zion National Park, park rangers share warning

SPRINGDALE, Utah (ABC4) – A successful rescue mission for John Fiske Burg, 79, who went missing last Wednesday and was found last Saturday, triggers a warning from Zion National Park Ranger Chief Daniel Fagergren.

“People just have to be aware that they have to plan, they have to hike with someone, they have to bring adequate supplies, food, water, clothes,” he says.

Burg is originally from Colorado and was staying in Kanab with a group of 50 hikers when he set out on his own to hike the Canyon Overlook Trail.

“He took a little map with him and started from Canyon Overlook, it’s the trail that starts east of the tunnel and goes towards the Grande Arche,” Fagergren explains.

Fagergren says Burg was able to make a brief call on Friday, after climbing higher ground and while that didn’t help him find it, it gave officials a silver lining.

“It instilled hope in the whole operation that he was still alive and in desperate need of help, and it gave us renewed energy to really redouble our efforts the next day,” said Fagergren.

Authorities found Burg 5 days later with serious injuries, approximately 6 miles from the Overlook Trail at Lodge Canyon.

“It’s a really, really tough crossing of land, to get to where he started, where he was found,” he said.

The Rangers are still in the process of determining how the 79-year-old arrived on foot.

“We had a copy of the map he had and so we thought it made sense to start here, but because of the deviation it leads to this situation where we were really looking in the wrong area,” says- he.

Fagergren says it’s a banner year with over 160 major search and rescue missions and 5 fatalities in the past four months and this case serves as a reminder, to stay on track and stay with a group.