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Troopers find couple and child lost after dark in Wales park

A trip to the park turned into an odyssey for a family at dusk Wednesday when they got lost on the trails at Hunters Creek Park in Wales.

The couple, who had their young child with them, had to call State Police to help them find their way out of the woods after darkness fell.

The parents called 911 from a cell phone call at about 6 p.m.

“The couple was able to make intermittent cell contact with police dispatch but had become disoriented and lost,” a press release from troopers stated.

Using a state police K-9 dog, named “Dobber,” Troopers Sean Pierce and Chad Barry began hiking into the park along a trails.

They immediately went to work to establishing a “track” from the family’s last known location on Hunters Creek Road, which enabled them to find the family.

“The track continued for approximately a half mile to three quarters of a mile into the woods until the family was located and escorted from the woods and back to their vehicle,” the released stated.

Michael Zywar, the Wales town highway superintendent, said that it is easy to get lost in the park when it gets dark.

“People should plan on getting out of the park before it’s dark. It’s difficult to see the trail markers in the dark,” Zywar said. “We have had several calls of people getting lost at nightfall up there. The park is about a few hundred acres and has a lot of different trails.”

Park-goers intending to hike the trails, he suggested, should first study a large board that has maps of each trail. The board is situated in the parking lot of the park.

“I’m in Wales Center Volunteer Fire Company and we have had to go into the park looking for people. We either have the sheriff’s department locate them through their cell phone signal or the sheriff’s Air One helicopter goes up and has the infrared camera on it that picks out different heat sources,” Zywar said. “Sometimes we just hike the trails until we find them, but we’re in radio contact with each other.”

Assisting troopers Wednesday was an Erie County Sheriff’s Office deputy. The identity of the family was not released.