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What are the top causes of death in national parks?

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What are the top causes of death in national parks?

Postby rlown » Mon Aug 17, 2015 9:33 pm

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Last week, two teenagers camping at Yosemite were tragically crushed when a tree fell on their tent — which, as it turns out, is not a very common way to die at a national park.
Deaths are a fact of life in the national park system. However, despite a rash of misfortune this month that included a man being fatally mauled by a grizzly bear at Yellowstone and a French couple dying of heat exhaustion at White Sands National Monument, statistics show the nation’s 408 national park sites are relatively safe spots.
“It’s probably more dangerous to go out on the highway in California or try to cross the street in some places,” said parks spokeswoman Linda Friar.
About 150 people die each year in a national park, according to the latest federal data, tracked between 2007 and 2013 — a relatively small number considering the parks see nearly 300 million visitors annually.
The biggest causes of death, according to the federal figures, are drownings and vehicle accidents — things that kill people outside of parks, too.


Source: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/W ... 449157.php



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Re: What are the top causes of death in national parks?

Postby BrianF » Mon Aug 17, 2015 9:48 pm

Stupidity is undoubtedly number one, I'd like to see the bar graph of that
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Re: What are the top causes of death in national parks?

Postby maverick » Tue Aug 18, 2015 8:12 am

Drowning and falling have always been the leading causes of death in the backcountry.
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Re: What are the top causes of death in national parks?

Postby Jimr » Tue Aug 18, 2015 8:59 am

Stupidity = Other
What is Non-Vehicle transport? Being thrown from your mule?
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Re: What are the top causes of death in national parks?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Aug 18, 2015 9:20 am

"other" is a huge undefined category! May include lightning strikes. or UFO abductions :paranoid: :D

non-vehicle may also include bicycle and pedestrian-car accidents, and yes equestrian accidents.

This is a national database- includes some heavily used more urban eastern parks too.

It does not surprise me that drowning is top. We have had six recent drownings in the American River here in Sacramento just in the last few months. Even after lots of media attention, people still regularly drown. May be politically incorrect, but many are immigrants from warmer climates (such as India) who do not understand that it can be 100 degrees air temperature and the water still very cold. And drunk young men of all ethnic backgrounds. I think alcohol is a big factor in drowning. There really needs to be more water-safety education.
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Re: What are the top causes of death in national parks?

Postby Tom_H » Tue Aug 18, 2015 10:10 am

maverick wrote:Drowning and falling have always been the leading causes of death in the backcountry.


Taking the raw data for this graph, which is solely for National Parks, I would imagine that most of these occur in the "frontcountry," the parts of the parks with easy access. Though not true for everyone, the typical backpacker knows much more about risk and survival than the average urbanite who believes roughing it means a week in a Class A motorhome in Yosemite Valley or at Yellowstone Lake. Greenhorns who stop the car at scenic overlooks are more likely to fall off a cliff than a backpacker hiking a trail that has exposure.

I agree with WD on the drownings. I'd wager more people drown in Yosemite Valley, or somewhere lower on the Merced than in the backcountry.
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Re: What are the top causes of death in national parks?

Postby balzaccom » Tue Aug 18, 2015 10:50 am

And note that these statistic are only once you get INTO the parks. We've always said that the most dangerous part of any backpacking trip is the drive to the trailhead....grin
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Re: What are the top causes of death in national parks?

Postby SSSdave » Tue Aug 18, 2015 2:07 pm

Of the Falls accidents am wondering what percent of that bar in the last few years has been while taking mug shots and selfies at cliff edges?

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Re: What are the top causes of death in national parks?

Postby Cross Country » Tue Aug 18, 2015 4:41 pm

Almot funny stuff but dieing isn´t funny.
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Re: What are the top causes of death in national parks?

Postby gdurkee » Sat Sep 05, 2015 2:09 pm

I've actually seen few backcountry deaths I'd attribute to stupidity. It's a pretty mixed bag but maybe falls with trauma are the leading cause. For sure drownings are way up on the list but many (most) of those are in the frontcountry. An actual analysis of fatalities indicates that if you're a male between the ages of 18 and 23 and drunk, you shouldn't hang out at the river. That might qualify as stupid but you don't see that much in the backcountry.

But, anyway, for the Sierra in the backcountry, it's often just really bad luck.

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Re: What are the top causes of death in national parks?

Postby Jimr » Sat Sep 05, 2015 6:08 pm

"if you're a male between the ages of 18 and 23 and drunk, you shouldn't hang out at the river. " Or in rattlesnake country [-X
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Re: What are the top causes of death in national parks?

Postby rlown » Sat Sep 05, 2015 6:13 pm

I'd hazard a guess that we have maybe 10 people on this forum that are aged 18-23. Maybe the guests, but that's a different matter. :lol:

Guess all i'm hinting at is that most people who would heed your warning George, don't hang out here. They're on FB with friends.
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