Appalachian Trail attack prompts safety website revisions



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ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — A fatal stabbing on the Appalachian Trail has led the nonprofit that manages the trail to revise its website for reporting safety issues and suspicious incidents.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy redesigned its safety and crime prevention page to include incident reporting resources including a bright red 911 button, a National Park Service phone number and the ability to submit an incident report from a cellphone. Previously, the form was a downloadable PDF that would have to be filled out and emailed back.

Conservancy communications manager Jordan Bowman told The Roanoke Times that the changes prompted by the May slaying make the resources clearer and easier to use.

"The way we designed it now ... their eye will immediately jump to the big red 911 if there's an emergency," he said.

Hiker and army veteran Ronald Sanchez Jr. was stabbed to death on the trail in southwestern Virginia. James Jordan of West Yarmouth, Massachusetts, is charged with murder and assault with intent to murder in the attack on Sanchez and a female hiker whose identity wasn't immediately released.

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The Associated Press

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