Nobody expects to end their summer getaway in a body bag. But each year that’s exactly what happens to campers who get injured or die in the national parks while on summer vacation.
Unprepared summer hikes in rough terrain often end in tragedy. (Image: Joshua Tree National Park, NPS.gov)
According to National Park Service statistics reported by CNN, a total of 1,025 people died in national parks from 2007 to 2013. In the big scheme, that’s not too many deaths compared to other ways to die in America. For instance, in 2015 there were 15,696 homicides and 40,000 fatal car crashes. Regardless of how many people die in U.S. national parks the fact is that many deaths were totally preventable.
Most vacationers don’t die from grizzly bear maulings or other wild animal attacks. The causes aren’t quite as sensational. The most popular ways to die in national parks usually involves being unprepared and disrespectful of the power of nature.
A quick scan of the National Parks Service news release log reveals most tourist deaths are the result of overconfidence or just simple bravado. Here are some examples of surefire ways to end your national parks vacation on a bad note:
Ignore warning signs.
Warning signs exist for a reason but not everyone abides by them. On June 22, 2017 Golden Gate National Park Recreation Area officials responded to a person who fell from a cliff near the Lands End Painted Rock area. Preliminary investigation revealed that the person who fell 150 feet to her death was part of a group who admitted to ignoring warning signs indicating “Danger Area Closed.”
Get too close to wildlife.
Wildlife selfies are a dumb idea but not everyone has gotten the memo. In July an Alaskan tourist at Theodore Roosevelt National Park was head-butted by a bison. The tourist simply got too
René M. Agredano