Have you ever wondered which of America’s national parks is the most dangerous? After all, it seems like each year we see news stories about someone getting attacked by a bear or falling off a cliff face. The parks are incredibly beautiful places, but they are also nature in its purest form, and we all know that the wild can be completely unforgiving at times.
Outside magazine has published an article that ranks America’s ten most deadly national parks. The rankings are based on the number of total deaths the parks have seen over the years. For instance, Grand Teton National Park makes the list because it has had 59 people die within its boundaries since it was established back in 1929. Four of those occurred in 2016 alone. Denali is also on the list with 62 deaths, although most of those have occurred on the mountain that the park shares it’s name with.
Of course, I won’t reveal all of the parks that made the cut, but I will say that it is a good mix of places that you would expect to see on the list and a few that you might not have anticipated. Amongst the usual suspects are a some that are bit further off the radar, including the top spot overall. It should be noted that Outside uses the term “national park” broadly here, as a few of the places on the list aren’t officially designated as parks, but still fall under the jurisdiction of the Park Service.
The list was also generated purely by the sheer number of people who have died within a park, and doesn’t take into account the number of years since that place was established nor the number of visitors. If a 100 people died in a park that has been around for 100 years, it seems less deadly than a park that may have had 100 people die in just 50 years for example. Similarly, if millions of visitors pass through a park’s gates each year and a handful pass away while there, it isn’t as dangerous of a place that has the same number of deaths but only gets a few thousand visitors for instance. Still, this does give you an idea of which parks are the most dangerous in the purest sense.
All of that said, it is a wonder that some of these parks haven’t seen more deaths over the years. For instance, Yellowstone has been around since 1872, and over the course of its 145 years of existence, only 92 people have died within the park. Considering that nearly 6 million visitors now go there on an annual basis, that doesn’t seem all that bad.
Update: It has been pointed out that the article says that the stats were taken for all parks from 2006 on, so my rant above is off base. That makes the article a fairer comparison for sure.
Find out which other parks earned the dubious distinction of “most deadly” here.
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