Posted on Feb 27, 2024 in Forestry & Wildlife, Main, News Releases, slider


Feb. 27, 2024


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(HONOLULU) – The only visible sign of Ian Snyder’s serious injuries is a patch over one eye. “My right eye has double vision, but other than that, doing pretty well, all things considered,” Snyder said during a recent interview on a trail near his Ferndale, Calif., home.

The 34-year-old made international headlines after surviving a 1,000-foot fall off the Ko‘olau Mountains and lay dazed and alone at the base of a waterfall for three days before he was rescued. “All things considered,” is an understatement.

Snyder knows how lucky he is to be alive and chose to share his experience in the hope that other hikers will not repeat the mistakes he made.

“First of all, I’d do more research on a trail before planning to hike it. Before my accident I always told someone where I was headed. I told my parents the day before about my hiking plans but last December fourth I failed to tell anyone,” Snyder said.

Emergency responders were able to home in on the last known location of his cell phone and ultimately found Snyder at the base of a waterfall, where for three days, he’d been in and out of consciousness. Snyder added, “Honestly the need for first responders and the risks they take, sadly, did not cross my mind. I wasn’t thinking, what happens if I need to be rescued? I thought it was going to be a normal day hike. That’s in my mind now to consider before heading out.”

In the television and radio public service announcement (PSA) he taped at the request of the DLNR and partners, the Honolulu Fire and Emergency Services Departments, Snyder details the lessons all hikers should take to heart. Many Hawai‘i hikes, especially non-sanctioned trails, are for well-equipped, experienced hikers.


  • Only hike alone on managed trails
  • Tell someone your plans.
  • Consider the risks to first responders.
  • Never enter closed areas.


At the conclusion of his on-camera remarks he says, “Consider the risks first responders take. I’m alive because of them. Don’t make the mistakes I did. You may not live to share your lessons.”

“Ian’s incredible rescue and story of survival highlight why each of us joined the Honolulu Fire Department (HFD). The HFD is here to protect and serve the public when they need assistance. We are grateful that Ian’s story ended the way it did. However, it is important that hikers learn from this harrowing incident by taking proper safety precautions and being mindful of the risks first responders take in order to affect a rescue in, oftentimes, dangerous situations,” said HFD Fire Capt. Adrian Cravalho.

“Honolulu EMS paramedics and EMTs are trained to handle extensive traumatic injuries but when someone falls 1,000 feet, your years of training are tested. With the quick actions of the Honolulu Police Department to locate the missing hiker and then the remarkable rescue by HFD, my partner and I were able to provide the patient with advanced life-saving care and today we are relieved he is recovering with his children and rest of his family,” said Allen Zhang, Honolulu EMS Paramedic who treated the patient.

The day he taped the PSA in late January was the first day Snyder had been back out on a trail. “I knew I’d be out hiking again. I just knew there were things that I would need to get better at, like telling people my plans.”

Bill Stormont, who leads the DLNR Nā Ala Hele Trail and Access Program, echoes Snyder’s lessons and added, “Ian admitted he followed an online map to the trail he was on. It is a closed trail and that’s why we encourage people to only use official sources, like Nā Ala Hele, when planning a hike.”

Nā Ala Hele trails are on lands managed by the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), but the DLNR Division of State Parks (DSP) has some of the toughest Hawai‘i trails under its management; some of which have been long-closed due to their dangerous conditions.

DSP Administrator Curt Cottrell, also an avid hiker and admittedly often a solo one, concluded, “As Ian said, if you’re going to hike alone, be sure it’s on a managed trail and know the trail’s length and your limits. Don’t rely on non-trusted sources of information, as there’s loads of misinformation and misdirection online. We are grateful to have Ian, a survivor of social media misdirection, spread this message. Reducing the danger of misinformation on social media will keep our hikers and our first responders, safer.”

DLNR is distributing Ian’s PSA to Hawai‘i television and radio stations via the Hawai‘i Association of Broadcasters Public Education Program.

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(All images and video courtesy: DLNR)


HD video – Ian Snyder hiking public service announcement:



HD video – Ian Snyder interview and b-roll (Jan. 29, 2024):



Photographs – Ian Snyder hiking, Ferndale, CA (Jan. 29, 2024):



Nā Ala Hele Trail and Access Program:



DLNR Division of State Parks hiking information:




Media Contact:

Dan Dennison

DLNR Communications Director

[email protected]