Mile markers coming to creeks and river
Sheriff's Office teams up to mark waterways to better provide help in case of emergency
March 16, 2023
The Escambia County (Ala.) Sheriff's Office has teamed with Alabama Scenic River Trail and the city of Brewton to place mile markers along Big Escambia Creek, Murder Creek and Burnt Corn Creek to aid possible rescue efforts for kayakers, canoers and floaters who will soon be hitting the waterways as warm weather arrives.
Sheriff Heath Jackson said the goal is to label all waterways in the county, using a GPS mapping system developed by Jacksonville State University, to set the mile markers on trees along creek beds.
Sheriff Jackson told the Escambia County Commission Monday that each summer the sheriff's office, rescue squads and fire departments respond to people who are lost or who have accidents along the creeks and trying to pinpoint where emergency responders need to go can become difficult.
While Jackson said the first phase would be to place the markers along the three creeks, he hopes to launch a second phase and place markers along the Conecuh River in Escambia County.
"We've had instances where people call and really don't know where they are," Jackson said. "That delays rescue efforts when sometimes every second counts."
He said the mile markers will help those on the creeks pinpoint their location and get help earlier.
Jackson said by using the GPS map it may give first responders access to the creeks through hunting clubs and other lands where responders could go instead of launching a boat and traveling several miles to find the emergency.
In addition to the mile markers, Jackson said it's important for people who are going to float the creeks to let friends and family members know where they are putting in and when and where they are planning on getting out.
"It's important to take a cell phone with you, but you may be in an area that doesn't have good service," Jackson said. "If a family member reports you missing, it's important they know when and where you launched and when and where you expect to get out. That helps emergency responders get there quicker."
Jackson told the commission the project will begin this summer to mark the creeks and then move to the river.
Brewton resident Steve Layton said he is a member of the CEC chapter of Alabama Scenic River Trail that deals with waterways in Conecuh, Escambia and Covington counties. He noted that the CEC chapter has already placed mile markers along the Sepulga River.
Layton echoed Jackson's tips about letting people know the when and where people will enter the creeks and when and where they are expected to get out.
Layton also noted that there are areas where there will be no cell service. However, he said the markers will aid someone who walks out and either finds a house or gets cell service to direct emergency personnel to the site of an emergency.