SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Less than a week ago, 46-year-old Brad Thomas from Springfield died from a fall while hiking at the buffalo national river.

The Newton County Sheriff in Arkansas says the guide leading Thomas was not licensed or insured.

For hikers in Missouri, we talked to Stephanie Garland at the Better Business Bureau about what you should do when considering hiring a hiking guide.

“Get at least three different bids from three different companies for the same kinds of services,” Garland says.

“You can also go to our free website board and type in whatever kind of travel company you’re looking for, whether that’s a hiking and tour guide, whether that’s going to be somebody who has a great hotel, a motel, a cabin, fishing, renting a canoe…”

Garland says it always helps to see if they have a BBB rating and make sure they have insurance.

“Better Business Bureau always recommends that when you’re getting a bid for work, whether that’s going on a hike or having a new roof down in your house and deciding on your house, you need to make sure that the person is insured”

For those wanting to hike and are looking for something easier and without a guide, Francis Skalicky with the Missouri department of conservation says conservation trails have plenty to offer.

“The trails that Missouri Department Conservation trails are easy to follow. You will find maps online. My suggestion is that you also have a hand-held guide,” Skalicky says.

“You can get those at any of our regional offices, but I will also say that most of our trails on department areas are loops. So you will eventually get back to, you know, either your starting point or to another trail that you’re familiar with.”

Skalicky said there’s very few things to worry about when on a conservation trail.

“You know, I wouldn’t say there’s any big dangers,” Skalicky said. “It’s not like we have climbing you know, you have to scale a bluff or anything like that. It’s just where comfortable shoes or comfortable clothing.”