No cause for alarm in National Parks – you are very safe

Doug Williams
Public Domain
Public Domain

Fatal accidents only account for 120 to 140 deaths annually. That’s minuscule based on the 280 million or so who visit national parks. The following information and data provide an overview.

Drowning – Internationally

Figures compiled by the International Life Saving Federation (ILSF) indicates that every minute two people drown somewhere on the planet. The organization says men are more prone suggesting the male of the species engage in risky behavior or exaggerate their swimming skills.

That applies to adults only. For children, infants and toddlers, drowning is the foremost cause of death, followed by road traffic accidents and accidents near home. The latter accidents are attributable to poor supervision, unable to swim, and lack of obstacles barring toddlers from pools and other water.

Excluding small children, the majority of drowning happen to men aged 20 to 25, and past 60. The ILSF attributes fatalities in the first group to recklessness. The second is attributable to health problems. Recklessness, the ILSF advises, is easy to resolve. Be cautious, improve skills and physical fitness for any activity you wish to participate in, and be accompanied by responsible friends. Look out for each other. Annually, 3,000 people world – wide, drown from broken necks. Ensure the water is deep enough and there are no obstacles. Don’t assume based on observation only.

Vehicle Accidents – National Parks

Don’t assume your driving skills are better than they are. Unless you have been professionally trained – you are an amateur. And don’t assume vehicles made today are safe. They are a square box made as cheaply as possible by robots. All the safety features such as airbags and anti – lock brakes will not protect you at 40 mph and over.

Don’t be distracted by cell phones and conversations. Twenty – seven percent of fatal accidents were attributable to drivers distracted by the scenery. Alcohol factored in23 percent of crashes. Be prudent: don’t drink and drive, drive with caution, be alert to road hazards, use your seatbelt, and pay attention.


Most injuries occur when walking, hiking, or climbing stairs. They don’t occur while engaging in extreme or dangerous activities. Be aware of the environment around you, and move through it with caution. People don’t usually fall from well – known walking trails but while in close proximity to them. Being careful is disregarded. While on a trail it is not uncommon to hike on the loose, wet, steep, slippery or rough terrain.

Non-Vehicular Transport and Other Travelling Modes

This term includes cyclists, pedestrians, and riding horses. The assumption is that people are hit by cars.


Although activities like backcountry downhill skiing do not happen in National Parks, snowshoers, cross – country skiers, and hikers can be exposed to this risk. To avoid this type of calamity be prepared and use situational awareness. Pay alert for avalanche warnings, and know how to use elementary avalanche rescue equipment. Travel with groups is advised in addition to bypassing areas prone to avalanches.

Exposure to the Elements

In addition to dressing correctly carry water whatever the temperature. If you break a leg, and the thermostat is well into freezing not being hydrated is a killer.

Accidents by Firearms

You can carry a firearm provided you obey federal, state and local laws. But you can’t discharge a firearm.

Attacks by Bears

Bears don’t attack without a reason. Make lots of noise to advertise your presence and don’t have food exposed so the odor can carry. Have bear spray.

Additional Wildlife

Remember that animals are wild and operate on instinct. Get too close to a male elk during rutting season and you will be charged. It’s hard to avoid a rack of antlers unless there is something between you and it, and even then protection may not be adequate.



fmssolution is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival