To date, 32 people have jumped off the bridge and died. Consider hiking with others rather than taking the risk of going solo. (CNN) In the 16 days since the government shutdown began and more than 21,000 National Park Service employees were furloughed, seven visitors to national parks have died. Fortunately, when people go missing in national parks, they’re generally found. But fatalities happen more often than people may think. Built during the Depression, it is a starting point for hikers seeking trails, scenic overlooks, streams and waterfalls. The park … Still, it’s important to know what can and has gone wrong, so you can make your visit to a national park a safe one. Currents and tides can be exceptionally dangerous to inexperienced swimmers. Drowning has become one of the leading causes of unintentional visitor deaths at U.S. National Parks. The National Park Service, which usually employs 24,681 people, furloughed all but 3,298 of them when the shutdown began on December 22. Denali National Park, where mountaineering accidents in unpredictable weather have led to fatalities.8. Chief Ranger Scott Brown said a 65-year-old man and 60-year-old woman died after falling into … In July 2019, a vehicle driving in Glacier National Park swerved to avoid a stopped car, then descended down a 40-foot steep hill. Golden Gate National Recreation Area, home to beaches where many have drowned.6. Know that paths at 8,000 feet above sea level or higher may be problematic for people coming from sea level or for those with diagnosed health conditions. Some boating and rafting trips also include time on land, especially when people are getting in and out of a boat and walking along rocky or slippery shorelines. National Parks offer trails with varying degrees of difficulty and duration. The National Park Service confirmed the victims's family returned to the park and collected his remains. Natchez Trace Parkway, a 444-mile road where motor-vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death. Operating a boat while intoxicated is not just unwise, but a federal offense that comes with a $1,000 fine. Especially if you do travel alone, let people know where you’re going and which part of the park you’ll be exploring. Swimming in a natural environment such as a river, stream, lake or ocean is very different from being in a controlled situation like an indoor or outdoor swimming pool. Even in the summer months, snow and ice can pose dangers during hikes. This alone can make a huge difference. The number of fatal accidents during swimming has increased every year – 32 in 2007, 31 in 2008, 41 in 2009, 42 in 2010 and 2011, 45 in 2012 and 59 in 2013. The latest available FBI report from 2017 cited only seven murders and non-negligent manslaughters in U.S. National Parks. Three occurred in Tennessee at the Big South Fork, Great Smoky Mountains and Obed. Pfc. Their combined message is “Designate a Water Watcher – Supervision Could Save a Life.” While the NPS is endorsing this message, they also advocate that visitors swim in a lifeguarded-protected area. The National Park Service warned visitors that staff would not be available in case of emergency. But parks are also, in some ways, inherently unsafe, and not all injuries and deaths are the result of bad decision-making. Yosemite National Park, where falling is the most common cause of injury and death.3. For example, at Joshua Tree National Park in California, campgrounds were forced to close January 2 for health and safety concerns as vault toilets reached capacity, the National Park Service said. Exact numbers are hard to come by, but there are at least 60 unresolved missing-person cases in the National Park System. Yellowstone National Park’s hot springs are undoubtedly amazing. Editor's note: This updates with description of bear and rationale for use of a shotgun to put down the bear. April 24, 2019, 6:21 PM • 4 min read. And alcohol can play a significant role in accidents. Barriers were erected to prevent visitors from traversing on dangerous trails and roads, people were encouraged to wear protective eyewear in certain areas where volcanic ash was swirling in the air, and the Visitor Center provided updates on air quality. Writer Lee H. Whittelsey begins his book “Death in Yellowstone: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park” by citing a 1981 incident in which a man jumped into 202-degree Fahrenheit hot springs to retrieve his friend’s dog and ended up with third-degree burns over 100 percent of his body. Exercise particular caution during calving seasons. Traffic along the Going-to-the-Sun Road was delayed for hours. This photo taken by Pat Cummings shows debris in the road in the aftermath of a rockfall near the east tunnel in Glacier National Park in Montana on Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. The importance of wearing life jackets should not be minimized. And, yes, this even holds true for accomplished swimmers. Between 2006 and 2016, at least 22 people died in the park’s thermal springs. Just how common are national park fatalities today? "In addition to human waste in public areas, driving off-road and other infractions that damage the resource are becoming a problem," the agency said. Those parks are, in order of deaths: 1. While the NPS does not offer statistics pinpointing the relationship between fatalities and lifejacket usage, the latest stats from the U.S. Coast Guard show drowning as the cause of death in 76 percent of all 2017 fatalities. If the weather isn’t optimal, it may be safer to delay the adventure than to trek in deteriorating conditions. Together, they cover more than 85 … A California passenger fell into the river, became unresponsive while being rescued and succumbed to his injuries. Definitely not. Occasionally, freak tragedies occur. In August 2019, falling rocks near the east tunnel on the Going to the Sun Road at Glacier National Park struck a car. A Maine teen who worked at Utah’s Zion National Park was found dead at the base of a … In other parks, too, falls are an issue. The National Park System comprises 419 areas, 61 of which are designated national parks. Savannah McTague Facebook. Getting on and off a boat requires balance and concentration. A hiker plummeted more than 500 feet to her death after slipping off a steep trail at Yosemite National Park, authorities said. The NPS has taken steps to implement improved safety measures for children and adolescents by partnering with Water Safety US. But be aware that many remote areas still do not have any cell phone service. Recent resolutions mandate a multi-year process which will hopefully lead to design changes in 2023. In 2018, 10 people committed suicide on the parkway, and to date three people have done so already this year. The  oldest cold case mentioned on the Investigative Services NPS site describes the disappearance of Dennis Lloyd Martin during a Father’s Day vacation at Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 1969. This year alone, there have been a handful of youth drownings at national parks. Staying focused and alert to one’s surroundings will lessen the likelihood of making an unwise decision. Explore national parks with a partner or in a group; be careful about venturing out alone. A woman died in Death Valley National Park this week as temperatures soared to nearly 120 degrees. "And then he came up behind me and he got his horn — slashed it through my leg,” the teen, who wished to remain anonymous, told Today. But though tragic on their own, the tally of deaths is not out of the ordinary for the expansive National Park Service, which sees an average of six deaths per week, Litterst said. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the busiest national park in the country with 11.4 million visitors, was the site of another unusual accident in June 2019 when a tree struck a Jeep Grand Cherokee on Little River Road during a storm. Before heading out to the park, check the weather forecast and the condition of the trail, as well as the degree of difficulty along your intended route. At the time, Hagan was 19. But despite the low risk of a serious issue, caution still needs to be taken. By Mary Papenfuss. Climbing accidents are relatively rare — at Yosemite, for instance, there are about 100 climbing-related accidents annually and an average of 51 deaths. At this point, you may be thinking that accidents mostly happen because of human folly. Proper shoes will go a long way to preventing falls. Consider staying in more developed areas of the park. The driver of the car died after the incident. Only use pullouts for parking, and remember that the safest view is from inside the car. Between March and April 2019, for example, four people died at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, a weirdly high number for such a short period of time. This is a book that I would recommend, especially to someone who is planning to visit the crown of the continent. Murders and non-negligent manslaughters are often times random acts of violence. Always pay attention to posted warning signs. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. CNN's Braden Walker, Chris Boyette, Amanda Watts contributed to this report. Don’t venture too far afield of designated hiking trails and viewing areas. In the spring of 2019, an Israeli teen hiking Yosemite's Mist Trail got caught up in the moment when he asked hiking companions to take a photo while performing a dangerous feat that he underestimated. Admission to every national park is free on Saturday A 13-year-old girl died when she fell from the trail in February 2018. Pack ample food, water and gear in a backpack. Grand Canyon is, in fact, one of the deadliest parks in the country. An autopsy report says a New Jersey man died from blunt force trauma, hypothermia or a combination of both while he was hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park. ZION NATIONAL PARK, Utah — A 19-year-old hiker from Maine fell to her death in Zion National Park on Wednesday. Hottest, Driest, and Lowest National Park. Do not attempt, under any circumstances, to bathe, soak or dip into a hot spring! Officials believe that four of the deaths … Despite this, visitors should realize that their overall welfare is dependent on being aware of their surroundings, using common sense and following the park’s safety tips. Nature-lovers seek out national parks in large part because of the incredible wildlife they contain. Death in Glacier National Park is a well written and respectful account of deaths in the park, with the implicit advice that those incidents have for other visitors. Of course, car accidents happen everywhere, but there are some specific risks distinct to parks. In the NCHS Data Brief No. Relatively speaking, they’re very rare. Interestingly, while no one to date has attempted to test this NPS legal loophole, it is technically possible to get away with murder at Yellowstone’s “Zone of Death,” a 50-square-mile stretch of uninhabited land in the small Idaho part of the park. In all cases, the people lost their footing when climbing on large rocks or boulders. Deaths at national parks are inevitable. Yosemite National Park, similar to Rocky, saw 4.3 million visitors in 2017 and had 233 search and rescue operations, according to data from the National Park Service. Relative to the 25,000-50,000 climber-days that take place at the park each year, this is low. Let us break it down... On average, one person dies in a motor-vehicle crash on National Park Service roadways every week. He is the second person to die there in 2019. Only a few incidents reach the public eye each year, and the overall fatality rate is miniscule compared to the total number of visitors. Grand Teton National Park, where people fall from sheer cliffs.10. An unidentified, 68-year-old German man collapsed Tuesday while hiking in Zion National Park. An active-duty U.S. soldier died Saturday at Big Bend National Park after he slipped and fell into the Rio Grande. Her body was recovered Christmas morning around 10 a.m., and the initial investigation indicates she died of an accidental fall. Their wandering dog led park rangers to their campsite off the Bridle Trail near Skyland Resort. The National Park Service has said that about 12 people die each year at the Grand Canyon and that two to three deaths per year occurred after a … 330 published in 2018, the CDC reported that “from 1999 through 2017, the average adjusted suicide rate increased 33%...In 2016, suicide became the second leading cause of death for ages 10-34 and the fourth leading cause of death for ages 35-54.”. Two California visitors fell to their deaths while hiking to the Delicate Arch sandstone formation in Arches National Park. Mamady Kaba (Fort Bliss Public Affairs Office). Here are some general steps park visitors can take to stay safe: Taking a proactive approach prior to arrival, and asking questions from park rangers upon arrival, will counteract the possibility of becoming a National Park statistic. Parts of the road were closed for an extended period of time and the Alaska Railroad temporarily stopped its service as well. Pfc. In July 2019, to take a recent example, a New Jersey man suffering from dementia disappeared from the Cataloochee Divide Trail at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Observing a creature you’ve never before seen in the wild can provide an extraordinary visceral thrill. Some parks have limited water supplies, so it may be necessary to pick up water before entering the park. First, at Yellowstone National Park, a group of people stood within less than 10 feet of a bison. Is it likely that something will happen when visiting a park? Still, the National Park Service did note that the investigation into the death of the Yosemite visitor was affected by the shutdown. It seems basic, but as the “Driving Safety” page on the NPS site emphasizes, always pay attention, even and especially when there are cool things to look at. Other times, weather conditions merely cause delays and inconveniences. Between 2004 and 2014, approximately 93 percent of people who went missing were located within 24 hours, as compared to the less than 3 percent who were never found. Three of those deaths were accidental, including that of a 14-year-old girl who fell off Arizona's Horseshoe Bend on December 24. During the first week of August 2019, Yosemite National Park reported three injuries from falls, including one fatality. Enlarge Image. Records indicate that drowning fatalities can occur at every age, but younger, unaccomplished swimmers with a tendency for poor decision-making are at greatest risk.