And you're worried about bears?

8:19 p.m. on May 11, 2012 (EDT)
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Interesting article in this month's National Geographic about injuries and deaths in the US national parks. And you thought bears were the biggest danger!

Highlights:

275 million people visit the parks every year.

Deadliest parks (Fatalities 2007-2011):

  • Lake Mead Recreation Area, 65 deaths
  • Grand Canyon, 42 deaths (mostly Heat Exhaustion), over 250 rescues
  • Yosemite, 42 deaths
  • Glen Canyon Recreation Area, 31 deaths
  • Golden Gate Recreation Area, 29 deaths
  • Mt McKinley (Denali), 26 deaths.

Causes of deaths (percentage):

  • Drowning 37%
  • Motor Vehicle Accidents 23%
  • Falls 18%
  • Exposure (Heat/Cold) 4%
  • Plane Crash 3%
  • Avalanche 2%
  • Bicycle Accidents 1%
  • Poisoning 0.9%
  • Animal Attacks 0.6%

"The most common mistake is not realizing the hazards are real and unforgiving." Ken Phillips, Emergency Service Chief at the Grand Canyon

8:22 p.m. on May 11, 2012 (EDT)
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peter1955 said:

"The most common mistake is not realizing the hazards are real and unforgiving." 

 Or paying attention to posted signs...

9:29 p.m. on May 11, 2012 (EDT)
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or common sense?

9:58 p.m. on May 11, 2012 (EDT)
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I'm STILL worried about bears! Texas yo!

10:10 p.m. on May 11, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks for posting Peter,

In my experience some people are lazy and just play the odds. They think the odds are that something bad won't happen to them.

They may be right....but they are not wise and sometimes it costs someone their life.

We have several drownings a year in my area, many times it is alcohol related, so I don't doubt those statistics.

Mike G.

10:29 p.m. on May 11, 2012 (EDT)
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Where did the other %10 percent go? The percentages there only add up to just short of %90.

10:41 p.m. on May 11, 2012 (EDT)
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Jake W said:

Where did the other %10 percent go? The percentages there only add up to just short of %90.

 A keen observation; maybe the other 10% is people smarting off to the Rangers?

10:57 p.m. on May 11, 2012 (EDT)
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yep 10% can't be reported as the bears dragged them away and there is not record to show.

10:59 p.m. on May 11, 2012 (EDT)
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Seriously, out of these fantastically detailed results of over 275 million people visiting parks.  How many of them actually camped in backcountry, know to have bear population ?  Then with that number I would be willing to listen to the odds and not see the Lightning strike twice, which it does.

11:01 p.m. on May 11, 2012 (EDT)
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And Trouthunter is on to something there.

Lake Mead with the highest number of fatalities.

AND,,,,,

Alcohol, sorry Drowning being the highest percentage.

9:04 a.m. on May 12, 2012 (EDT)
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I suppose the other 10% is 'Other'.

A LOT of deaths in recreation areas. Interesting stats, though.

Obviously, the number of people who venture into wilderness/backcountry areas isn't very high, but there are bears there, too.

I would suspect the 'Falling' deaths come from climbers or hikers, rather than those walking on posted, heavily traveled pathways.

7:14 p.m. on May 12, 2012 (EDT)
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Callahan said:

And Trouthunter is on to something there.

Lake Mead with the highest number of fatalities.

AND,,,,,

Alcohol, sorry Drowning being the highest percentage.

 In other words, the never ending stupidity of power boaters... More often than not, killing someone else rather than themselves. Notice how much bigger that number is than the second highest number.

11:24 p.m. on May 12, 2012 (EDT)
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In Alberta you can be charged with drunk driving if you're caught  driving with liquor in a boat. Doesn't that apply in the US?                               

12:30 a.m. on May 13, 2012 (EDT)
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peter1955 said:

In Alberta you can be charged with drunk driving if you're caught  driving with liquor in a boat. Doesn't that apply in the US?                               

Yes it does apply in the US. 

12:40 a.m. on May 13, 2012 (EDT)
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Actually, I am not sure what the law is for the state of Washington but it is fine to have alcohol/liquor in a boat, car, etc here as long as you are not under the influence while operating said mode of transportation.

Then you have open container laws which is a whole different batch of apples.

If you are the driver/operator of a boat you are not permitted to drink but anyone else on the boat that is of legal drinking age is regardless if the boat is in port, anchored, or under power on open water. I know this from spending alot of time on the water here(plus a few years of college.)

I am kinda confused as to how one would be charged with drunk driving w/o having a substance in your system because technically one would have to be "drunk" in order to be considered drunk driving, or driving under the influence.

Just having it in your boat and being charged seems kinda odd to me. Especially without having any physical evidence such as bac results, etc to substantiate the charge of drunk driving.

1:19 a.m. on May 13, 2012 (EDT)
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Hey Rick, It's funny just as I was reading this thread the same subject came up on the news. When I first read the question I was assuming that it was in regards to operating a vessel drunk. I do believe that others on a boat can consume in the state of Washington.

Though I'm not quite sure what drinking and piloting a boat has to do with "being worried about bears" (unless you have a drunk bear aboard) the penalties for piloting a boat drunk are the same as driving a land vehicle drunk.

"In Washington State it is illegal to operate a vessel in a reckless manner or while under the influence of intoxicating liquor.

RCW 79A.60.040. A person is considered to be under the influence if the person has .08 grams or more of alcohol per two hundred liters of breath, (breath test) or .08% or more by weight in the blood (blood test). You are also considered intoxicated if you are under the influence of alcohol or any drug or under the combined influence of alcohol and drug(s)."

in BC this seems to be the case:

"Restrictions on alcohol consumption aboard a boat are more strict in British Columbia. It is only legal to consume alcohol beverages on a vessel if the vessel has permanent sleeping facilities, the vessel has permanent cooking facilities, the vessel has a permanent toilet, and the vessel is anchored or secured alongside a dock. The Criminal Code of Canada imposes penalties if an operator has more than 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. The penalties are $600.00 fine for 1st offence, at least 14 days incarceration for 2nd offence, and at least 90 days incarceration for a 3rd offence."

The information I used was retrived from this site.

http://www.boativated.com/q_&_a_archives.htm

 

And always remember:  "Friends don't let their friends bears get drunk."

12:24 p.m. on May 13, 2012 (EDT)
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Peter,

This is an important point about the way we evaluate risks. We tend to underestimate the importance of risks we are familiar with, and overestimate the importance of risks we're not familiar with.  For instance, I always wash my spinach carefully to avoid the miniscule chance of getting e.coli, but I'll often ride my bike with no helmet.  In these cases, we (I include myself here) make decisions not based on the objective probability of adverse outcome, but on our perception of our ability to control the outcome. As several folks point out above, many factors (like a bunch of beersh) can impact out subjective perception of our own control.

Despite the intellectual knowledge of this, I still spend 5% of my nights out under a tarp vaguely worried that a bear will eat me, belch, and continue on it's merry way, yet I am not worried at all during the drive to the trailhead!

10:21 p.m. on May 13, 2012 (EDT)
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Not worried, just respectful.

8:14 a.m. on May 14, 2012 (EDT)
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The title was just a title, gentlemen. I thought is was an interesting article.

1:25 a.m. on May 19, 2012 (EDT)
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I couldn't help but notice that drownings are the most common cause of death in National Parks. For the Backpacker, fording a river is one of the most dangerous activities you will engage in. Check out this video I produced with instruction in basic river crossing technique as described in the Mountaineers book - Freedom of the Hills. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XbRRD6zewk

December 19, 2014
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