North Shore Rescue says missing trail markers a factor in father and son rescue

Trail markers that were intentionally removed contributed to the man and his 6-year-old getting lost in West Vancouver, rescuers say.

Trail markers that were intentionally removed contributed to the pair getting lost in West Van

A father and his six-year-old son had to be rescued after getting lost near Whyte Lake in West Vancouver. North Shore Rescue says someone has been removing the reflective trail markers that are normally attached to the trees. (submitted by Grant Baldwin)

North Shore Rescue says missing trail markers made matters worse for a father and his six-year-old son, who had to be rescued in West Vancouver on Sunday night.

The pair struck out on the Whyte Lake Trail for a short walk at around 2 p.m. but became lost when one of their dogs ran off.

NSR search manager Peter Haigh said it didn't help that many of the colourful reflective trail markers, which are normally nailed to trees, had been wilfully removed.

"There are quite a lot of trails from Whyte Lake and we have marked them, but somebody or several people don't like markers on trails," said Haigh. 

Members of North Shore Rescue located the father and son using cellphone coordinates and then walked them to safety. (submitted by Grant Baldwin)

"The problem is that the trails that are easily accessible by the general public, [who] need markers. But if somebody takes all the markers down, then people of that nature can't find their way out."

Haigh speculated the people who remove the markers "like to pretend they're in the the great outback."

The father called 911 at around 5 p.m. and a crew was able to locate the pair using cellphone coordinates.

Three rescuers found them cold but otherwise uninjured, and they walked out of the woods at 8:30 p.m.

Haigh said it's always a good idea to carry a flashlight or headlamp when hiking, regardless of the time of day.

"I spoke to the father ... and he said 'look, we were going for a one-hour hike.' But that's the same story that we hear quite often. If people would put a flashlight in their pocket or small headlamp, that would help."

With files from Yvette Brend

With files from Yvette Brend