For the second time this year, the US Fish and Wildlife Service is putting use restrictions on the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Simply put, it's too hot to hike.

For the time being, while temperatures remain ridiculously hot, here are the temporary rules.

1. Hiking is permitted from sunrise until 10 a.m. ONLY.
2. All hikers must exit the trails and the Mt. Scott Roadway no later than 10 a.m.
3. After 10 a.m., the Refuge will be closed to hiking, except in established picnic areas and campgrounds.
4. All back-country camping in Charon’s Garden Wilderness Area will be cancelled.


The move to restrict hiking to only morning hours was met with mixed reviews a few weeks ago, but it's an understandable no-win situation.

Nobody likes to be told "You can't do this for your own good" by any government entity, but even the (lower case) libertarians are mostly OK with these restrictions.

While you are ultimately responsible for your own well-being, if you encounter a situation hiking in the mountains where you need assistance, you will have made a decision that extends a serious risk to others.

You might be thinking "Well if I fall on the trail, I won't call for help and endanger others..." rabble rabble, but that's not the extent of it. Friends and family members will call for rescuers on your behalf, so while you may be fiercely independent in your stubborness, you can't account for the variable of loved ones.

Are the restrictions ideal? No, but neither is this weather. If you simply must get your hike on, there are a limited number of areas you can get your fix throughout the rest of the day. Stop into the Wichita Mountains Visitors Center, they'll provide that information.

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