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Old 08-30-2011, 11:15 AM
 
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It seems that fatal accidents have been increasing at national parks. 156 fatal accidents in 2010, and already 87 fatalities in 2011.

Grizzly bears, waterfalls, falls from rock formations and into canyons, drownings, etc. While some seem to be true accidents, many appear to be the result of risky behavior or ignoring warning signs.

One very sad incident involved a four year old girl who died after falling over the edge of Grand Canyon. It was reported that her parents were warned before it happened to hold on to the child because she was too close to the edge.
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Old 08-30-2011, 11:40 AM
 
Location: FLG/PHX/MKE
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Quote:
Originally Posted by missik999 View Post
It seems that fatal accidents have been increasing at national parks. 156 fatal accidents in 2010, and already 87 fatalities in 2011.

Grizzly bears, waterfalls, falls from rock formations and into canyons, drownings, etc. While some seem to be true accidents, many appear to be the result of risky behavior or ignoring warning signs.

One very sad incident involved a four year old girl who died after falling over the edge of Grand Canyon. It was reported that her parents were warned before it happened to hold on to the child because she was too close to the edge.
Grizzly bear attacks are not increasing, at least not that I was able to find.

By my math, if you average out deaths per month, the 2011 figures could be lower than the 2010 figures. Anyway, a lot of outdoor activities carry inherent, but calculated risks. Hopefully a few deaths don't bring about a new nanny state mentality in national parks, instituted by desk drivers in an office 2000 miles away.
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Old 08-30-2011, 11:44 AM
 
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I agree. When I was in Grand Canyon a family with young kids were complaining because there were no guardrails on the trails. It's not Disneyland, folks.
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Old 08-30-2011, 11:45 AM
 
Location: Brambleton, VA
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There is an entire book about Death at the Grand Canyon. It is actually quite interesting. I debated whether to buy it or not when we made the trip about five years ago, but I couldn't put that book down. Most deaths were negligence and I would imagine that is the case no matter what National Park. They aren't made to be the safest places in the World...as part of enjoying the great beauty that they possess yet some still feel they are in Disney or something.
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Old 08-30-2011, 05:19 PM
 
Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
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Falls over canyon edges is easy to see happen. We've been to a few of your national parks in the last few years and there's a lot of opportunity to go tumbling over. It adds to the euphoria of being there and I would not want to see ugly fencing put up.

Could it be that more Americans are vacationing in their own country versus going overseas, hence more people = more accidents? Or is it because we've been nannied so much everywhere else that we lose respect for natural dangers because we expect Nanny to keep us warm and safe all the time? It's like that in Australia too, people being so stupid and careless when out in nature, especially the current generation of parents with their free-range kids.
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Old 08-30-2011, 05:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Alley01 View Post
There is an entire book about Death at the Grand Canyon. It is actually quite interesting. I debated whether to buy it or not when we made the trip about five years ago, but I couldn't put that book down. Most deaths were negligence and I would imagine that is the case no matter what National Park. They aren't made to be the safest places in the World...as part of enjoying the great beauty that they possess yet some still feel they are in Disney or something.
The last time I was there, there were many people posing for pictures in the most extreme manner.

A group ventured out in an area that was forbidden, and I saw these people sitting on a small ledge where one wrong slip would be the end of them.

Others were doing crazy poses for photos in places that were not stable.

I also thought that if one wanted to end their life, doing a swan dive off the Grad Canyon would be a pretty effective way to go.

Another family was hiking on part of the trail I was on with their baby on their back. They were stopped by a ranger, and advised to turn back immediately as it was about 100 degrees that day.

Mother nature is not forgiving, and if you are not smart about things, it could be the end.

I have been lost before while supplies are low, and it almost made me want to invest in a GPS locator, because I felt as if I barely made it out.
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Old 08-30-2011, 06:10 PM
 
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Its the very things that make the parks unsafe that make us want to visit them.

Yellowstone National Park is full of geothermal springs and mud pots that very, very hot. You wander off a trail and you may fall right through the ground into boiling hot water. Its happened and its generally fatal. Two people from my state survived such an experience, but are undergoing plastic surgery a decade later for third degree burns.

The Grand Canyon is visited because of the beautiful steep ledges and overlooks that allow you to look several thousand feet down into oblivion. Its a beautiful place and I've hiked it rim to rim, three times. However, its very dangerous and hikers rapidly become aware of how dramatically the weather can change. It can be snowing on top and 75 degrees at the bottom. The bottom gets very, very hot in the summer with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees. Heat stroke is very common.

Yosemite National Park is very crowded and when you have lots of people you will have more accidents. There is a lot of traffic on the park on narrow two lane roads. Many of the roads are steep and winding. This year at Yosemite, I've read about people being swept over a waterfall, falling off a cliff, and even mauled by a bear.

Death Valley National Park is literally the hottest place in the United States. People can camp there in the middle of the winter and be comfortable. That heat will cause dehydration and heat stroke rapidly in the summer if you aren't very careful. Also, there is very little water in the park.

Many people want to climb the mountains at Grand Teton National Park. Mountain climbing is a dangerous pursuit (particularly coming down). There are deaths every year, usually involving climbers who fall.

Add to those problems the fact that many people who come to the national parks are out of shape, overweight, and have medical conditions. I would think being a National Park Ranger would be very stressful. More search and rescue/law enforcement and fewer talks interpreting nature these days.
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Old 08-30-2011, 06:27 PM
 
Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
Its the very things that make the parks unsafe that make us want to visit them.

Yellowstone National Park is full of geothermal springs and mud pots that very, very hot. You wander off a trail and you may fall right through the ground into boiling hot water. Its happened and its generally fatal. Two people from my state survived such an experience, but are undergoing plastic surgery a decade later for third degree burns.


Thanks for the heads-up. Yellowstone's next on our list, probably next year. And here I thought "all" we had to worry about was being mauled to death by a Grizzly. What would really suck would be running from a Grizzly only to fall into a hole full of boiling hot water.
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:20 PM
 
14,257 posts, read 23,974,521 times
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Originally Posted by missik999 View Post
It seems that fatal accidents have been increasing at national parks. 156 fatal accidents in 2010, and already 87 fatalities in 2011.
Your post is misleading. At the current rate, based on your numbers, 131 people will die at the current rate vs. 156 last year, a decrease of 17%.

In an article published on August 7th, 2011, the USA Today reported a 10% decrease.

So far in 2011, fewer deaths in national parks - USATODAY.com


Personally, seeing the absolutely POOR preparation of many visitors, I am surprised that there are NOT more deaths.
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:54 PM
 
Location: Cleverly concealed
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It is rare to encounter a bear. I'm sure most national park visitors never see one. I've seen about five bears in the wild in my lifetime, from Colorado to Alaska, including four trips to Yellowstone.

Yellowstone and Teton are nuts in the summer now. 50 cars slugging the main roads screech to a halt simultaneously anytime someone sees a deer. Huge families cram those skinny mountain trails; it's almost unsafe to climb to a popular overlook or viewpoint. But the trails are there for a reason.
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