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Old 09-04-2011, 09:34 AM
 
1,246 posts, read 2,986,088 times
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Unfortunately, the dumbest (and saddest) thing I've read about recently was the mother who took her 11-year-old son to Death Valley National Park in the middle of summer for an overnight camping trip. (Why the heck do people even GO to Death Valley in summertime? But I guess many people do...) Her car's GPS took them way off course onto a defunct road that hadn't been in use for 40 years. Or "road," since it barely was a track.

Obviously, the erroneous GPS information is greatly at fault, but why would you keep driving and driving on an ever-wilder "road"? Why don't people just TURN BACK instead of being so blindly trusting? Sadly, she kept trusting the GPS and their car fell into a big hole and was up to its axles in sand. Since she didn't tell anyone where in the park they were going, by the time her family got worried, rangers started searching the wrong area of the park. They were found five days later with no food or water. (Mom survived, the boy did not.)

I really believe that Americans as a people have an overdeveloped sense of security and comfort. On some deep level, they feel the world is their playground, made just for them and their safe enjoyment. That mentality is the only way I can explain why people would do these sad and dangerous things in the wilderness.

Last edited by Jeromeville; 09-04-2011 at 09:51 AM..
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Old 09-04-2011, 10:13 AM
 
3,111 posts, read 7,016,087 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeromeville View Post
Unfortunately, the dumbest (and saddest) thing I've read about recently was the mother who took her 11-year-old son to Death Valley National Park in the middle of summer for an overnight camping trip. (Why the heck do people even GO to Death Valley in summertime? But I guess many people do...) Her car's GPS took them way off course onto a defunct road that hadn't been in use for 40 years. Or "road," since it barely was a track.

Obviously, the erroneous GPS information is greatly at fault, but why would you keep driving and driving on an ever-wilder "road"? Why don't people just TURN BACK instead of being so blindly trusting? Sadly, she kept trusting the GPS and their car fell into a big hole and was up to its axles in sand. Since she didn't tell anyone where in the park they were going, by the time her family got worried, rangers started searching the wrong area of the park. They were found five days later with no food or water. (Mom survived, the boy did not.)

I really believe that Americans as a people have an overdeveloped sense of security and comfort. On some deep level, they feel the world is their playground, made just for them and their safe enjoyment. That mentality is the only way I can explain why people would do these sad and dangerous things in the wilderness.
On the park's website, it even states that GPS units are likely to be wrong regarding Death Valley.

Camping at Death Valley in the summer time is something I would not consider appealing. I was about to melt after 10 minutes in August.

GPS units can be useful I suppose, but I still don't care for them. When someone plots their route by map, they learn the way, and know what roads they are taking.

When one blindly follows a GPS, well this happens, or people drive off a cliff somewhere, only turning when the unit tells them too. Ask them what route they took using a GPS, and he/she probably can't remember.

A friend used one when we were going to the Everglades from Miami, and I had a map. I told him to take the route that when around the toll road, but the GPS was having none of it, and kept insisting we alter course to the toll road.
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Old 09-04-2011, 10:18 AM
 
Location: Central Indiana/Indy metro area
1,501 posts, read 2,324,074 times
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I think we have lots of things at play here:

"Me, myself, and I" mentality. This mentality seems to be at record levels in this country. Even older people are starting to move towards this thought process as they see the younger generations constantly do whatever they want for immediate gratification. As such, people with common sense are less likely today to give warnings to others, because doing such means you could end up in a shouting match or fight. So when some fool starts getting too close to a bison in Yellowstone, out of crowd of 50 tourist, you might have one actually say something...if that. So not only do we have people saying "I don't care the danger, I want a cool picture and I'm going to do whatever I want to do!", we have a society that lets government deal with other people's safety. Park rangers and other employees are rare in some parks, so no one is going to be around to warn these people about their foolish actions. Education is also lacking. So while people don't mean to put themselves in a unsafe situation, their lack of education causes them to put themselves in harms way.

Unfortunately we have the lawyer class constantly reminding us that it isn't our responsibility to keep ourselves safe, it is the governments. When the government fails us, we sue.

Family awarded $1.9 million in bear attack lawsuit
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Old 09-04-2011, 08:30 PM
 
Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
10,791 posts, read 7,686,525 times
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Originally Posted by indy_317 View Post
Unfortunately we have the lawyer class constantly reminding us that it isn't our responsibility to keep ourselves safe, it is the governments. When the government fails us, we sue.

Family awarded $1.9 million in bear attack lawsuit
Yes, I agree the litigiousness of our societies these days is also a factor. We're much the same in Australia - sue if something goes wrong for you, it's the government's (Nanny's) fault for not keeping you safe at all times. Judges are huge fans of this mindset of all rights and no responsibilities.

In that bear attack case, it seems the judge thinks it's the Forest Service's responsibility to run around warning everyone of a potential bear attack in a park that is bear territory
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Old 09-05-2011, 08:19 AM
 
Location: SW Missouri
15,847 posts, read 30,349,542 times
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Originally Posted by wanneroo View Post
I don't like heights either, because I know what gravity does to people.

But there are plenty of places you can stand without putting yourself at risk by any means at all and still get a reasonable view. And also without freaking yourself out.
The view doesn't appeal to me, I couldn't care less. I like the ocean.

20yrsinBranson
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:36 AM
 
Location: CasaMo
15,482 posts, read 7,502,910 times
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Originally Posted by Ghengis View Post
Right, I think it was Yogi the Bear that said "nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded"
The best way to avoid the crowds is to go backpacking. Once you get away from the visitor center and the main tourist trap attractions and get into the backcountry, you'll see very few people. And the people you do see are well prepared for the most part.

Wildlife isn't a problem until humans do stupid things (like feeding them).
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Old 09-05-2011, 01:05 PM
 
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The problem is that most of the time, people will ignore signs and do what they see the people around them doing. They trust the "obvious lack of danger" implied when they see other people splashing around in the creek just above the 60-foot waterfall, rather than paying attention to "NO WADING" signs right in front of them. If other people are doing it, it must be safe, right? (If I can easily climb over that two-foot-high guardrail, it must be safe, right?)

Part of the problem is that "NO WADING" is readily ignored because it doesn't illustrate the danger and seems merely punitive, like "No Fun Allowed." Maybe these signs need to be more graphic and talk explicitly about how you can die doing this.

I'm convinced that human beings get exponentially dumber when they are around other human beings. (We certainly know this to be true of teenagers...)
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Old 09-09-2011, 05:11 PM
 
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Going to national parks becomes less and less worth it. They get so crowded, usually by people who's outdoor experience consists of going to city parks, and these idiots do stupid crap that forces the park service to tighten regulations, limit access, or payout money they don't have to said idiots.

I mountain climb, backpack, and 'peakbag'. There is no greater thrill than negotiating exposed knife-edges in high alpine cirques. I like challenge myself. I know my limits and I like to go where I want, without worrying about crowds or access restrictions. I'll stick to the Wilderness areas.
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Old 09-09-2011, 09:00 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
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I don't know anything about higher death rates in national parks, but whether it's true or not, it might not be a bad idea to insist that park visitors attend a mandatory "briefing" every now and then to ensure that they're aware of park hazards. When I flew into Katmai National Park in a float plane several years ago, no one was allowed to set foot onshore before they were briefed by a park ranger. It probably took 10 minutes and covered, most importantly, dealing with bears and wildlife. At that time, and I believe it's still true, Katmai was the only NP in the system where humans and grizzlies were allowed to "mingle", and I'd guess those briefings had a lot to do with that.

I'd imagine that most of those going to Katmai are outdoor enthusiasts anyway, but it didn't hurt to lay out the park rules and give a few tips on how to interact with a grizzly on the trail... and we did meet up with a few at no more than arm's length.

Parks like Yellowstone could do the same thing with a parking lot outside the gates, where everyone entering (without proof of attendance that month) had to attend a short briefing. It would take a few park rangers or volunteers to do it and might take 5-10 minutes of each visitor's time. In addition to the obvious "don't pet the bison," they could include timely information on where bears, wolves, etc. had recently been seen and include information on road work, fresh snow, closed roads, trails or fishing areas and weather forecasts.
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Old 09-15-2011, 01:43 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,361,353 times
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Speaking of the Grand Canyon, when myself and two other members of my tour group were hiking back up to the rim of the canyon, this big rock/small boulder (about 50cm in diametre, but it must have weighed 50kg easily) rolled down from the edge onto the path and into our way, missing one of us by mere centimetres. We tried to shift it out of the way, but it was surprisingly heavy, so I warned a couple of the other hikers that the rock still seemed a bit unstable and to avoid it. Had it come down less than a second later, someone could have been in hospital or worse.

I did wittness people climbing down narrow ledges, or standing too close to the rim to take photos. It's annoying the number of people who spend all their time just taking photos, as if all they care about is showing their friends on facebook they were there. They don't even take time to just appreciate the surroundings. It's sad that alot of people don't respect nature, anywhere in the world, and most of the accidents are partly a result of that.
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