We’ve reported about trail booby traps many times in the past, and often the argument has arisen in the comments section that spike-based booby traps are likely to be much more dangerous and damaging for hikers or horseback riders than they would be for mountain bikers. This generally-accepted hypothetical argument has unfortunately moved from the realm of pure speculation to fact. BlueRidgeOutdoors.com reports that a trail runner has been impaled by a “deliberately-planted spike” at Pinnacle Park near Sylva, North Carolina, prompting officials to close the park.
According to the article,
According to Sylva Police Chief Davis Woodard, a trail runner was impaled by such a spike on February 11. The runner received medical treatment, which included a tetanus shot.
Another visitor to Pinnacle Park had a run in with a similar booby trap on Saturday Feb. 18.
During this incident the spike apparently entered and exited the hiker’s boot, but did not come into direct contact with his or her foot.
Officials are currently combing through the 18-mile trail system with metal detectors to locate any other booby traps.
While it is impossible to say exactly what the motivations of the trail booby trapper were until they are caught, the trails in Pinnacle Park are open to mountain bikes as well as hikers. (Source)
Whatever the motivation may have been, the reality is that planting a booby trap on a trail can cause serious bodily injury and possible even death to any trail user, not just one specific user group.
A $1,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible. If you have a tip, please contact the Sylva Police Department at (828) 586-2916.