Missteps in the Parks

Backcountry Hiker Falls 300 Feet To His Death in Grand Teton National Park

A 24-year-old Pennsylvania man hiking in the backcountry of Grand Teton National Park tumbled 300 feet to his death on Teewinot Mountain.

Body of Overdue Hiker Found in Remote, Rugged Area of Grand Canyon National Park

The body of a man whose wife reported him overdue from a hike at Grand Canyon National Park was found in a remote and rugged area below the North Rim.

SPOT – The Good, the Bad and the Silly Uses for Those High-Tech Communicators

SPOT units are compact communication devices that can be used to summon help in event of an emergency in remote areas. SPOT can be a life-saving tool, but false alarms by inept users can also be a problem. Recent incidents in two parks illustrate the potential and the pitfalls of modern technology.

Fatality Reported on Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park

A solitary hiker fell to his death from Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park, officials reported Friday. Park officials were trying to determine whether the victim was a Colorado man who had failed to return from his trek up the 14,259-foot peak.

Woman Drowns In Yellowstone National Park's Backcountry

A 30-year-old Wyoming woman has drowned in a remote area of Yellowstone National Park's backcountry, according to park officials.

Upon Further Review: Sometimes Chicken Soup Just Isn't Good for a Ranger's Soul

Buffalo River scene
The wide variety of duties performed by park rangers is part of the job's appeal, but some tasks are clearly less desirable than others. Responding to a hazardous materials spill falls into the "negative" category, but in rural America, the definition of "haz mat" can include some pretty bizarre substances.

A Romantic Miscue Led to a Helicopter Rescue at Great Falls Park near Washington, D.C.

Park Police helicopter
Eagle 2 is a U. S. Park Police helicopter used in the Washington, D.C. area and it's participated in some dramatic missions. Few, however, have involved a more unusual situation than a recent rescue at Great Falls Park—and it all started with a romantic miscue.

Body Thought To Be That of Missing Hiker Found in Grand Canyon National Park

A body believed to be that of a missing North Carolina man was retrieved from Grand Canyon National Park on Wednesday.

Two Injured, One Seriously, in Parasailing Accident at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Lake Powell.
A mother and son were injured in a parasailing accident at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The incident occurred on Lake Power, near the mouth of the San Juan River, and resulted in severe head injuries to the woman.

Still No Signs of Missing Hiker in Grand Canyon National Park

A slow, methodical search of the canyon-riddled backcountry in Grand Canyon National Park continues to come up empty in the search for a 43-year-old North Carolina man thought to have descended below the South Rim around August 31.

Search Under Way for Missing Hiker in Grand Canyon National Park

A search was under way Sunday for a 43-year-old North Carolina man thought to be missing in the Grand Canyon National Park.

PFDs Are Proven Lifesavers. Should Boaters be Required to Wear Them?

Two men in canoe tipping over.
Personal flotation devices (PFDs), otherwise known as life jackets, are proven lifesavers for boaters—if they're properly worn. Should boaters be required to wear them? A recent incident at the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River confirms that's a good idea.

70-Year-Old Backpacker Airlifted Out of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Spam, fruit, and rainwater sustained a lost 70-year-old backpacker in Great Smoky Mountains National Park who was hoisted to safety Sunday morning by a Tennessee Highway Patrol helicopter after being stranded atop an outcrop for the past week.

Rescue from Death Canyon at Grand Teton National Park

The Death Valley Patrol Cabin at Grand Teton
A climber who was injured earlier this week in Grand Teton National Park can be thankful the location of his mishap wasn't predictive of the outcome. He was rescued from Death Canyon, and the irony doesn't end there. The man fell while ascending a route named Caveat Emptor.

Boy Lost in South Africa's Kruger National Park Among Lions, Elephants and More

Kruger National Park in South Africa is one of the world's premier destinations for wildlife watchers. Home to lions, leopards, wild dogs, rhinos, elephants and more, it's also no place to get lost on foot. Unfortunately, that's what happened to a 12-year-old boy who became separated from his family.

Upon Further Review: "Where's the Spare?"

Grand Canyon
Any career which involves regular contact with the "general public" includes situations which put the employee's sense of humor to a serious test. Those oft-envied park ranger jobs are no exception, as illustrated by the following story related to me years ago by a fellow ranger at Grand Canyon National Park.

A Silly Way to Die - Friends Don't Let Friends Teak Surf

Drawing of teak surfing.
It may sound like just another fad, but a recent near-tragedy for two youngsters at Grand Teton National Park offered a grim reminder about the dangers of "teak surfing." Some people are still unaware of the risks, so here's why you shouldn't let your friends or family try this deadly "sport."

Upon Further Review: "But My GPS Unit Said Go Thataway..."

Zion National Park canyon scene
GPS units can be a useful aid if you're traveling in unfamiliar territory, but they're often better suited for the city than the boondocks. Three hikers at Zion National Park who depended upon their GPS for directions in the backcountry found themselves in Heaps of trouble.

Grand Teton National Park's Snake River Proves Yet Again Too Challenging For Visitors

Rule No. 1 when you're launching your craft into the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park: Know what you're up against. Rule No. 2: If you're not up to the challenge, take a hike. A trio of Utahns failed to follow those rules and wound up relying on park rangers to save them. Their rental canoe, however, has yet to be recovered.

Fall From Tokopah Falls Kills Visitor to Sequoia National Park

A 19-year-old visitor to Sequoia National Park was killed Monday when he fell about 50 feet from Tokopah Falls, according to the National Park Service.

Heat Claims the Life of Boy Stranded for Five Days in Isolated Area of Death Valley National Park

Death Valley scene.
An intended one-night camping trip to Death Valley National Park had a tragic ending for a mother and her 11-year-old son. They were stranded for five days after their vehicle got stuck in a remote area of the vast desert park. The mother was rescued but her son did not survive the intense heat.

Young Kayaker Rescued in Glacier National Park, But Not Before A Nap in a Hollow Log

Rip van Winkle he wasn't, but a 13-year-old kayaker who capsized on Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park might have been found sooner had he not fallen asleep in a hollow log once he reached shore.

Search Under Way Friday Afternoon For Woman Who Jumped or Fell Into Little River in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

A search was under way Friday afternoon for a woman who either jumped or fell into the Little River in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The search was along the river from the Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area towards Townsend.

Historic Lighthouse Aids in Rescue at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Raspberry Island Light
A historic lighthouse had a role in one of three recent rescues at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Wisconsin, and quick work by the park staff averted several potential tragedies.

Yet Another River Accident on the Snake in Grand Teton National Park

In what's getting to be a disturbing occurrence, there's been yet another accident involving paddlers on the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park. Fortunately, as with the two other mishaps this summer, no one was seriously injured in the latest incident.

Body, Presumed To Be That Of Missing Backpacker, Found in Grand Canyon National Park

A body, believed to be that of a missing 20-year-old backpacker, was found Saturday in a rugged section of Grand Canyon National Park.

Search Continues for Missing Backpacker in Grand Canyon National Park

Search-and-rescue teams are continuing to comb the rugged backcountry of Grand Canyon National Park for a missing backpacker who ventured down into the canyon to find an unusually rich waterpocket.

Update: Search Under Way For One Overdue Hiker at Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park rangers were intensifying efforts Thursday to find a lone backpacker in a remote and rugged section of the park. While initially they thought as many as four backpackers were in the group, after interviewing friends and family of Bryce Gillies they now believe there is only one missing hiker.

Triple-Digit Temps, Cool, Swift Waters Led to Drownings at Sequoia National Park

Hot summer temperatures reaching into the triple digits and cool, swift-running waters conspired last weekend to claim the lives of two young girls who looked to the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River in Sequoia National Park for momentary relief from the heat, according to park officials.

Know When to Say When – Stranded Visitor Rescued from Tiny Ledge at Yosemite National Park

Yosemite rescue
Rangers at Yosemite National Park have seen plenty of visitors in perilous situations, but apparently even they were shocked when they saw the dire situation of a man stranded on a tiny ledge.
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