National Geographic : 2012 May
37% 18% FALL 1% 0.9% 0.6% 23% MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT 3% PLANE CRASH 2% AVALANCHE 4% EXPOSURE (HEAT/COLD) BICYCLE ACCIDENT POISONING ANIMAL ATTACK DROWNING NOW When Parks Turn Fatal Summertime beckons tourists to America's national parks. Though most of the estimated 275 million visitors emerge each year with nothing more than fond memories, a small percentage face injury and even death. Last year two fatal bear attacks in Yellow- stone and the loss of three tourists swept over a Yosemite waterfall captured headlines. While extremely rare, they speak powerfully to the kinds of tragedies that can befall even the most prepared nature enthusiast. Still, lack of awareness and prevent- able missteps lead to numerous accidents. Search and rescue efforts cost the National Park Service around five million dollars a year. "The most common mistake is not realizing the hazards are real and unforgiving," says Ken Phillips, emergency ser- vices chief at the Grand Canyon, which deploys rangers to talk safety. So plan ahead, set realistic goals, heed warnings, pay attention---and enjoy the view. ---Luna Shyr Signs like this, part of Grand Canyon's Hike Smart program, alert hikers to potential dangers. Heat is the primary cause of accidental deaths at the Arizona park. GRAPHIC: OLIVER UBERTI AND LAWSON PARKER, NGM STAFF SOURCE: JEFFREY OLSON, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE. PHOTO: JOHN BURCHAM Accidental Fatalities in U.S. National Parks By cause of injury, 2007-2011 The Deadliest Parks Accidental fatalities, 2007-2011 65 Lake Mead Recreation Area 42 Grand Canyon 42 Yosemite 31 Glen Canyon Recreation Area 29 Golden Gate Recreation Area 28 Mount McKinley (Denali) Other causes add up to 10%. Values don't total 100% because of rounding.