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Author Topic: The Most Dangerous National Park?  (Read 17155 times)
dreed
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« Reply #20 on: March 04, 2012, 10:59:27 PM »
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I photograph in many Arizona wild areas. I wouldn't even think about doing so without a firearm handy. Too many bears, javalinas, mountain lions, and two-legged vermin around.

Unless you come between a black bear and its food or young, they will run away if scared.
At Yosemite, I've had friends tell me that bears have walked through their campsite at night.
They don't pull out guns to deal with it, rather they jump around and shout. Black bears are interested in easy food. If it looks threatening or too noisy then it is not easy. The problem is that it can be quite scary when you're confronted with one and running away is the worst thing you can do.

I don't know anything about javalinas, but at least in Yosemite you're considered very lucky if you even see a mountain lion. As far as they're concerned, the further away from humans they are the better.

Most animals in Northern America are afraid of humans (bears, lions, etc.)

Some can be dangerous without provocation (grizzly bear - e.g. Glacier National Park issues) and others (bison - Yellowstone) are calm but you don't want to get close or upset them because they're fast, and strong.

Unfortunately the two legged vermin are a problem for the entire planet Sad
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dreed
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« Reply #21 on: March 04, 2012, 11:13:27 PM »
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I think this new perception of nature being dangerous comes from our increasing detachment from the outdoors.  Keep in mind there is perceived risk and actual risk. I work with children in Yosemite.  After the deaths on Vernal Falls I had some parents not want their children to walk to the top of Vernal Falls because they perceived it as too dangerous.

Of all the walks around Yosemite Valley, IMHO the Mist Trail up to Vernal Falls is far and away the most dangerous and the one with the highest risk of death or injury due in part to the mist and also in part to the terrain. It scares me, as an adult or maybe I should say I have a healthy dose of respect for the conditions of that trail. I'm surprised that there aren't more serious incidents along it. Were I a parent, I'd take my children up to the top of Vernal Falls by going the "long way" around. Which is to say perhaps that the parents aren't being silly but for the wrong reason.

I wonder if the parents' reaction is also in part due to the lack of discipline in their children and that if their children are going to ignore their parent's advice or signs then...
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DeanChriss
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« Reply #22 on: March 05, 2012, 11:27:07 AM »
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Interesting article on Organ Pipe, and unfortunately it's all true. I photographed in Organ Pipe back in the late 1980s and 1990s, and it was a fantastic place. My wife and I visited again a few years ago and it was more like a battle zone than a national park. At the time most of the dirt roads that go to the best places in the park were closed until construction of the "vehicle barrier" along the U.S. border was completed. It also seemed that helicopters and slow flying airplanes were always overhead, and there were checkpoints along the road into and out of the park. It's just not a good experience going there and I couldn't recommend it.
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Greg Campbell
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« Reply #23 on: March 14, 2012, 04:59:42 PM »
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Of all the walks around Yosemite Valley, IMHO the Mist Trail up to Vernal Falls is far and away the most dangerous and the one with the highest risk of death or injury due in part to the mist and also in part to the terrain. It scares me, as an adult or maybe I should say I have a healthy dose of respect for the conditions of that trail. I'm surprised that there aren't more serious incidents along it. Were I a parent, I'd take my children up to the top of Vernal Falls by going the "long way" around. Which is to say perhaps that the parents aren't being silly but for the wrong reason.

You've got a point.  When you combine traffic volume and exposure, the Mist Trail has a lot of potential to produce injuries and an occasionally fatal fall into the gorge below.  Wow, a quick google search shows two fatalities on the Mist Trail in 2011 alone!

Here's an interesting page: http://www.nps.gov/zion/frequently-asked-questions-about-zions-hiking-trails.htm
Zion's Emerald Pools has 'killed' more people than Angel's Landing.  

By the numbers, I suspect Grand Canyon is the most 'dangerous' park, with an average of 15 fatalities per year.  I haven't yet found a park-by-park list but will keep looking.

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wildlightphoto
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« Reply #24 on: March 14, 2012, 05:24:46 PM »
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 When you combine traffic volume and exposure, the Mist Trail has a lot of potential to produce injuries and an occasionally fatal fall into the gorge below.  Wow, a quick google search shows two fatalities on the Mist Trail in 2011 alone!

Statistically that's a very low fatality rate.  I would estimate that tens of thousands of people, and possibly over 100,000 people hike the Mist Trail annualy.  On a typical summer day this trail is packed with hikers.
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Greg Campbell
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« Reply #25 on: March 14, 2012, 07:34:23 PM »
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Statistically that's a very low fatality rate.  I would estimate that tens of thousands of people, and possibly over 100,000 people hike the Mist Trail annualy.  On a typical summer day this trail is packed with hikers.

Well, we never did define 'danger.'   Wink
Are we talking total injuries and fatalities per park, or highest rate per visit?
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #26 on: March 14, 2012, 11:47:25 PM »
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slightly different perspective here.

I grew up in South Africa at a time where the cities were getting progressively more dangerous.
I also spent a lot of time in wilderness areas (not necessarily National Parks) and not suprisingly felt safer in the company of African wildlife than in the cities.

I now live in Australia (apparently overall a very safe place) in Brisbane.
Nonetheless in my extensive travels through Australian wilderness areas (called the outback here in Oz) I always feel much safer there than in the metropolitan areas. Many Australians feel the opposite and regard the outback as very dangerous with crocodiles, snakes, and scorpions on land, and marine stingers, sharks and other things in the ocean as not worth the risk.

It is true that wilderness areas to the uninitiated are dangerous, whether perceived or not, but city areas are even more dangerous to the uninitiated, whether perceived or not.

In summary I always feel safest where fellow Homo sapiens are not, no matter what other wildlife or weather phenomena, or climatological area is present.

My $0.2 worth

Regards

Tony Jay
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Rob C
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« Reply #27 on: March 15, 2012, 10:37:16 AM »
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In summary I always feel safest where fellow Homo sapiens are not, no matter what other wildlife or weather phenomena, or climatological area is present.

Regards

Tony Jay



I'd tend to agree; I'm not saying that the natural world is any safer, just that its threats are, in my mind, more natural and obvious.

Cities are places with very dangerous animals, animals that know envy, that are cunning, that have their own, waring packs; these animals are also devoid of the natural instincts that keep killing and maiming as a last resort. Some of the city ones, given the opportunity, do it for sport much as a domestic cat might do, where its wilder sister working on the energy expenditure principle, would be thinking only food, family and survival.

But then, the country human can be even worse due to inbreeding. Along, of course, with the virtual lack of parental control shared with much of its city cousins. But hell, it doesn't even have to be a 'class' or ghetto thing: I can recall being in the company of well-educated parents whose instant reaction, when adult conversation was interrupted by a child, was to turn immediately to said brat and leave the speaking adult with his/her mouth open, addressing the empty seat or the back of the sitter's head. I hate that; kids should learn respect for their elders as soon as they can learn anything. Then, later, they will be perfectly capable of discovering for themselves which of those adults deserve the respect they were originally given.  

Rob C

« Last Edit: March 15, 2012, 10:38:53 AM by Rob C » Logged

Rob C
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« Reply #28 on: March 15, 2012, 10:55:07 AM »
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I was at a teenage drug-use presentation recently and the doctor said human brain continues to develop until about age 25. In other words, teenage risk perception is, unfortunately, skewed. It is much more important to be "cool" and a "rebel".

P.S. On a side note (mine) that explains perhaps why one shouldn't marry before that age.

P.P.S. Come to think of it, it explains why one should marry before that age Wink



I think a more valuable condition is prior knowledge.

I met and went out with mine at school and we both knew who and what we were from the start, there was no chance of unpleasant revelations later on, when it would have been already a little too late. Also, similar backgrounds help a lot because those bring similar expectations and recognizable drives - if there are any drives - and shared reality is a great aid to happiness.

It strikes me that class, in the perceived 'English' sense of the term, exists and always will exist because it's a natural form of selection which guarantees a greater chance of survival of its membership. I suspect that it's the same reason that so many nouveaux run into marital/domestic problems: they suddenly have new and exciting abilities beyond their capabilities. Tough, but I risk the lottery to be there! Not to join them, I stress, just to have the possibilities that would be mine. That Mustang through France, probably alone, but better than not at all!

;-)

Rob C
« Last Edit: March 15, 2012, 10:57:36 AM by Rob C » Logged

Justan
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« Reply #29 on: March 15, 2012, 12:11:47 PM »
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How does one qualify ďmost dangerous?Ē Is this based on loss of human life or number of challenges per square mile or something else?

I live by Mt Rainier National Park and every year a number of people die in and around the area. In addition, a vastly larger number people are injured.

The reasons for the deaths and injury vary. Many die while trying to summit the mountain. Some die on the roadway coming to or going from the park. Most recently a park ranger was killed by a homicidal lunatic.

Based on the number of challenges per sq mile, Iíll offer a WAG that Denali in AK is probably the winner. High concentrations of natural risks coupled with an extremely remote location. And then thereís Mount McKinley, a very risky climb.

OTOH, perhaps itís the National Mall in Washington DC. It has an estimated 24 million visitors per year. Thatís a lot of human interaction, and itís legal for them to carry guns, as is the case in any National Park.

On yet another hand, according to several sites brought up by Mr. Google, the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument wins the scary title, as of 2003.

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Rob C
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« Reply #30 on: March 15, 2012, 03:21:23 PM »
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When you think about it, the obvious way to resolve the issue is to smash the users as well as the suppliers. Then, you'd help the construction industry with new big buildings, clear the streets, increase employment and ultimately save a lot of 'citizens' from a lot of self-inflicted grief. But then you'd probably also lose elections, so no, best to go on playing the status quo.

Rob C
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wildlightphoto
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« Reply #31 on: March 16, 2012, 06:16:12 AM »
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Based on the number of challenges per sq mile, Iíll offer a WAG that Denali in AK is probably the winner.

Having spent six summers there I'd disagree.  Numerous challenges to be sure, but a very very large number of square miles.
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Justan
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« Reply #32 on: March 17, 2012, 10:27:52 AM »
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^ Except for what i've heard described as mosquitoes the size of school busses, I don't doubt your comments, but even still the remote location adds substantially to the potential for risk ("danger") even if itís not seen as such by regulars. And then there are the cold months where the risk goes up substantially...
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wildlightphoto
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« Reply #33 on: March 17, 2012, 07:11:08 PM »
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The degree of risk depends to a very large degree on the individual's "bush smarts".  A city dweller who has no outdoor experience will get into big trouble in virtually any outdoor setting; it doesn't have to be remote.  For me, a city is much more dangerous than a remote wilderness (try Gates of the Arctic for remote) because I have enough outdoor experience to avoid most hazards.  In a typical city I'm clueless so it would be much more hazardous for me.
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #34 on: March 17, 2012, 08:03:31 PM »
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Common sense obviously applies here.

Photographing in remote areas needs research, not only into the best sites for photography, but into more practical issues of survival.
In the Australian outback the single most dangerous event is a mechanical breakdown of one's vehicle.
Not having a radio and/or satellite phone under these circumstances will be fatal since it may be weeks to months before another vehicle happens along your track.
Food and a lot of water (a weeks worth at least) we regard as mandatory for travel in these areas.

Just a week ago today I travelled a track into the Conondale National Park (about 150 km NW of Brisbane, Australia) that had obviously not been travelled in months. A breakdown or accident (a real possibility since a mountain goat would have hesitated traversing this track in its current condition) and an inability to communicate or walk the 10-15 km to the nearest farmhouse would have been fatal.

BTW the Nissan Patrol I drive is properly modified for major offroad expeditions but I abandoned this drive and turned around because at the rate I was going it could have taken a couple of days to get on top of the mountain and I needed to be back at work the following day.

The trick is to understand the environment one is in as well as one's own limitations.

Regards

Tony Jay
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HSakols
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« Reply #35 on: March 18, 2012, 10:05:47 AM »
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National Parks are not dangerous.  It is the people who come to visit them.  Danger arises when 1. people have not prior experience, 2. they come unprepared, 3. they make flawed decisions. 

All Yosemite 4th,5th and 6th graders (9-12) are part of a local outreach program through Nature Bridge (formally known as Yosemite Institute).  Each month the students visit and learn about different areas of the park.  Not only do they learn about science and caring for the earth, but they are expected to come prepared for each field trip with a day pack, lunch, water bottle, and layers of clothing. This concept of preparation is difficult for some of our younger students, and parents don't always check what their children are bringing before they get to school.  Usually in the fall we have to pull out extra supplies for those who forgot them, but after they're in the program for a year, they catch on to what is expected.  On the trail, they learn how not to get lost, what to do in the event of a rockfall, and most importantly how to take care of themselves.  I believe this is the way to make our parks safer.  We have been very successful and now I have former students that are in college that go on annual backpack trips every year and some even work summers as trail crew in the back country.  I'm proud of my boys and girls. 
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rickk
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« Reply #36 on: March 23, 2012, 07:02:57 PM »
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Hugh -- A big thank you for educating the youth of America about appreciating nature and taking care of themselves.
Best wishes.

Rick
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dreed
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« Reply #37 on: March 27, 2012, 07:58:12 AM »
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...
BTW the Nissan Patrol I drive is properly modified for major offroad expeditions but I abandoned this drive and turned around because at the rate I was going it could have taken a couple of days to get on top of the mountain and I needed to be back at work the following day.

The trick is to understand the environment one is in as well as one's own limitations.
...

I can't emphasise that line above enough. Especially when you're alone.

Knowing when to turn around is essential - even in places that are as well trodden as Yosemite Valley.
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #38 on: March 27, 2012, 04:59:23 PM »
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Yes indeed.

Here in Australia the challenges in the Outback are very different to most North American locales.
Nonetheless, the bottom line is that most people who die in Outback Australia die because of ignorance and stupidity.
Any issues that arise are compounded by the extreme remoteness of inland Australia.

Common sense can save your life.

Regards

Tony Jay
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wildlightphoto
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« Reply #39 on: March 28, 2012, 11:25:36 AM »
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I can't emphasise that line above enough. Especially when you're alone.

Knowing when to turn around is essential - even in places that are as well trodden as Yosemite Valley.

+1

Also good to know when to turn around in Detroit or Chicago or San Francisco.
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