The Sunshine Memorial Foundation’s Hiker Awareness Plan has been created to help other organizations and hiking locations with their awareness projects and programs. This includes their work in putting up signs at trailheads, way-finding locations and trail confluences; starting with the Usery Park trails in Maricopa County, near Mesa, Arizona. The goal of the Sunshine Memorial Foundation’s Hiker Awareness Plan is to branch out to other areas in Arizona and other states as well. One other such place we’ve envisioned is the Mah Da Hey Trail and Theodore Roosevelt National Park system in Western North Dakota. This park was near and dear to Shannon and her family and surprisingly, has extreme climate, terrain and seasonal challenges that are very similar to hiking in Arizona.
Shannon had done a lot of hiking in Kazakhstan and was involved in Women’s International Hiking club there; she loved the mountains and the friendships she established during this time. Although Shannon was an experienced hiker, she was unaware of the preparations and precautions necessary to take in the extreme heat in southwest Arizona. Many people lose their lives each year from dehydration and with education and awareness we can help to save lives.
We anticipate enlisting the help of the hiking clubs, forestry service, and any other agencies we can get help from. As time goes on, it is our hope to make this a nationwide initiative and save someone else from a senseless death.
So often, people go hiking without any knowledge or preparation and the only way to make that change is through education. We plan on asking the hiking community to help mold the information into a formula for success and pass it along to other experience and novice hikers.. As the program grows, health and safety information will be added to this website to become a place to help educate and empower people who participate in hiking and other outdoor activities.