MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A hiker is in critical condition after being rescued from a nasty fall in a Chisago County park.

The man went over a rock face Friday in Interstate State Park in Taylors Falls.

Rescue crews with the Taylors Falls and St. Croix Falls Fire Departments rappelled down about 30 feet to get to the hiker.

“There’s a lot of edges to look over and people like to get up nearby them and take a peek,” said Kyle Rivard, a Taylors Falls assistant fire chief. “I think that’s what we saw here today.”

The man fell above the waterline of the St. Croix River. Rivard says people on the Wisconsin side of the river swam over and called 911.

“One of the most difficult problems we have down here is locating the victim,” he said. “When we have people that have seen and are worried, they can point us in that direction and that really speeds up the process.”

The hiker was loaded onto a backboard, put on a boat and brought to a hospital where he got airlifted to a trauma center. He’s in critical condition according to the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office.

The firefighters say that with more than 3,000 acres of park to cover, they’re out on calls like this at least once a month.

“You should really have tennis shoes laced up, hiking boots,” said Jerry Brisson, a St. Croix Falls fire captain. “The rocks can be slippery, jagged, uneven.”

Rivard says especially near the edges, loose dirt or pine needles can mean uneasy footing.

Rivard, Brisson and several others who were part of the rescue crew are volunteers who dropped what they were doing at their jobs to assist on the call.

“We serve our communities freely and try to serve with the best response that we can, and that’s why we work and train the way we do,” said Joe Stage, a St. Croix Falls assistant fire chief.

The departments also rescued someone in the park Thursday.

Crews hiked more than a quarter-mile into the woods to find a woman who’d injured herself and couldn’t make her way out.

David Schuman

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