National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
Appalachian National Scenic Trail
PO Box 50 (252 McDowell Street)
Harpers Ferry, WV 24425
News Release - For Immediate Release
Contact: Wendy Janssen
Phone: (304) 535-6279
Date: March 16, 2015
Harpers Ferry, WV - On Sunday March 15, Jason R. Parish, age 36, of Philadelphia, PA, was killed when he sustained a fatal head injury after being struck by a falling tree while hiking on the Appalachian Trail. Parish’s two hiking companions said they began their hike on March 13, from Harpers Ferry, WV. The accident occurred about 6.3 miles north of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, on a steep and rocky section near the Ed Garvey Shelter in Maryland.
Police received a call notifying them of the incident shortly after 9 a.m. Sunday. The off-duty National Park Service ranger, who happened to be nearby at the time of the incident, performed CPR on Parish until emergency medical personnel arrived at the scene about 10 a.m. Ultimately, life-saving efforts were unsuccessful and a Maryland state medical examiner pronounced Parish dead at the scene. Emergency and safety personnel from Boonsboro, Brunswick, Jefferson, Frederick County, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources all provided assistance in the response.
"First and foremost our hearts go out to Mr. Parish's family," Appalachian National Scenic Trail Superintendent Wendy Janssen said. "We appreciate the assistance of not only the off-duty National Park Service ranger who responded immediately, but also the emergency medical personnel from our neighboring communities."
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail is a 2,189 mile long public footpath that traverses the Appalachian Mountains. Approximately 2.5 million hikers use the trail each year. Conceived in 1921, built by private citizens and completed in 1937, today the Trail is managed cooperatively by the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, numerous state agencies and thousands of volunteers. An investigation of the incident is ongoing and is being led by the National Park Service.