Teens on a Mormon pioneer trek reenactment suffer dehydration above This Is the Place park

A group of young people re-creating pioneer hardships got a more realistic experience than they expected Friday, when some of them suffered from dehydration on the trail.

A group of about 360 youths and adult chaperones from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints went on the 5-mile pioneer trek experience, starting and ending at This Is the Place Heritage Park in Emigration Canyon, said Capt. Adam Archuleta of the Salt Lake City Fire Department.

About three-quarters into the trip, Archuleta said, some of the kids complained of heat-related illnesses. The fire department received the call sometime after 2 p.m., and emergency responders and This Is the Place staff, using utility terrain vehicles, helped eight people down the hill.

The eight were treated at the scene, most of them for dehydration. None was hospitalized, Archuleta said. Firefighters remained at the park until all the trekkers completed the five-mile hike.

Temperatures in the canyon were in the low 90s Friday.

Tresha Kramer, a spokeswoman for the park, said This Is the Place has been organizing treks like this for 19 years, at an average of 10 each summer, to simulate the handcart journeys of the Mormon pioneers. Usually the groups include around 75 or 100 children, always 14 years old and older, she said.

For the treks, Kramer said, usually one park staff member accompanies the group for every 10 kids — and those staffers are ready for emergencies.

“I know our people are well-trained,” Kramer said. “This is something they rehearse for.”

Neither Archuleta nor Kramer knew from which church congregation the kids on Friday’s trek came.