safety in our national parks, tips for safety
Our national parks are popular—they recorded over 318 million visits in 2018. With those crowds come folks unprepared for the hazards and sometimes lacking common sense, increasing the risk of accidents. Last December, a young girl fell 700 feet to her death below the Horseshoe Bend Overlook (pictured) on the Colorado River, and so far this year, two people have died from falls in Grand Canyon National Park. Being informed, planning ahead and using common sense will help ensure your enjoy your time in our nation’s wild places safely. Photo courtesy National Parks Service/Peter Krocek.

The beauty of our national parks is their wildness, but that’s also their greatest danger. While the parks do offer varying levels of infrastructure, on-site services and emergency personnel, your safety is ultimately up to you.

Late last year, a young girl died after falling about 700 feet from the popular Horseshoe Point Overlook in Glen Canyon. In March of this year, a man fell to his death in Grand Canyon National Park and was reportedly taking a “selfie” at the time. Just yesterday, a woman suffered a similar fate while park rangers rushed to respond to the emergency call. As visitors to the parks swell, these stories are becoming too frequent.

Tragedies like these can be prevented with common sense and preparedness for the conditions. With proper planning and situational awareness, you can avoid foreseeable problems and enjoy the incredible views.

These tips for safety in our national parks and other wild places will help ensure you have a wonderful experience—and return home with the photos to prove it.

1. Familiarize Yourself With Park Services

Detailed maps of our national parks are available from the National Park Service website.

Before hitting the trail, study park maps to know where emergency services are located if you need them. Plan your route in advance and make note of the nearest facilities.

It’s also wise to save the park’s emergency communications center phone number to your contacts in case you are in range of cellular service and need help.

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