December 13, 2017

Yosemite Climber Falls From Half Dome

With a record snowfall and higher amounts of water rushing through the Yosemite National Park, many pathways, rock surfaces and popular climbing areas have become extremely dangerous for the average park goer.

The latest fatality in Yosemite was Helen LaFlamme. The 26 year old was descending Half Dome, a popular climbing attraction in Yosemite, when she lost her footing on the slick granite and fell 600 feet to her death. A sudden rain storm hit the park causing the granite rocks to become very slippery making Half Dome difficult to climb when LaFlamme attempted her descent.

In July, three hikers hopped the protective guard rail around Vernal Fall to take pictures and were swept away by the enormous strength of the rushing water causing them to fall from the 317 foot ledge.

Rivers in Yosemite National Park, such as the Merced River, are running three times higher than average which causes a very fast, strong current, and the water levels are predicted to remain high for several more weeks. Many people who live in cities go to Yosemite to enjoy the outdoors and nature, but they are unaware of the dangerous conditions in the park, especially when the rivers are running so unusually high. Six of the recent deaths in Yosemite, have been water related.

Foolish risks and unpreparedness can contribute to the dangers campers, hikers, and climbers face when visiting Yosemite. Visitors are urged to be extremely cautious near the water and falls around the park and people are warned not to take any unnecessary risks and to follow all of the warning signs that are posted throughout the park. Accidents at places such as Half Dome do occur, and they are usually due to overcrowding and sudden storms that pop up unexpectedly which cause footing to become unstable.

The total death toll so far in 2011 in Yosemite is the highest ever experienced at the park. At 14 Yosemite has never seen so many fatalities. On average the park sees 4 to 6 deaths per season. Yosemite this year has also seen a higher than usual influx of visitors compared to recent years. The park remains a popular vacation destination, but people need to understand and realize the dangers of the rushing rivers and be prepared for dangerous situations that can arise when hiking or mountain climbing in the park.

Read more:
LA Times
Yosemite Deaths Now At A Record-Breaking 14 Following LaFlamme’s Death
Yosemite Death Trap Fatalities Highest in Years, Say Experts
Yosemite waterfall accident a cautionary tale for Yosemite visitors

Yosemite Hikers Go Over Vernal Falls

“Three hikers are missing in Yosemite National Park, after they reportedly fell over a guardrail at Vernal Falls. The hikers, thought to be a woman and two men, are believed to have gone over Vernal Falls on Tuesday afternoon.

After receiving multiple calls from visitors reporting the accident, officials at Yosemite dispatched thirty rescue workers to search the area. A half-mile area of the Mist Trail, which leads to the waterfall, has been closed while they conduct the search.

Witnesses reported seeing a man and woman climb over the guardrail to get a better view of the waterfall, even encouraging their children to climb over too. The parents started to slip before the children made it over the rail, and a male who tried to save the parents also fell over the edge of the 320 foot waterfall.

After the hikers fell, a witness described seeing a man and woman holding onto a rock or island in the water. Another witness said that the third hiker was floating in the water nearby. They were then swept over the waterfall.

Unfortunately, this has happened before. In the past ten years, ten people have died in and around Vernal Falls, which is 1.5 miles from the Happy Isle Nature Centre in Yosemite Valley.

There are warnings posted in several languages telling people of the dangers of going beyond the guardrail.

The hike to Vernal Falls is three miles with a 1000 foot rise in elevation. It is aptly called Mist Trail, due to the fact the hikers are often sprayed with mist from the waterfall as they climb to the top. The hike can take anywhere from two to five hours. It is one of the most popular hikes at Yosemite National Park. At the top of the Falls there is a pool called Emerald Pool, with a 20 degree slope of rock with a small waterfall that flows into the pond, called the Silver Apron. Swimming in the pool is against Park regulations, due to strong undercurrents which are not visible from the surface.

Due to record snowfall recently, the waterfalls in Yosemite are spectacular, but the turbulent waters have claimed the lives of at least eight people this year alone. In May a hiker slipped and fell into the Merced River, his body recovered hours later. In June, two mean were swept off a bridge, and a man who disappeared while hiking is still missing.”

Today News at MSNBC

Yosemite Rangers Fear Hikers Swept Over Falls

Vernal Fall – Wikipedia

Yosemite Hikes – The Mist Trail

Yosemite National Park (US National Park Service)

Yellowstone National Park Even Popular with Kate Gosselin and Kate Plus 8

“Mother of eight and star of TLC’s Kate Plus 8, Kate Gosselin recently visited Yellowstone National Park with her little ones and camera crew in tow. While it was the clan’s first visit to the most popular national park in the country, fans of Yellowstone have been enjoying the pristine surroundings and breathtaking attractions in the park for years. In fact, Yellowstone National Park has broken record visitor numbers for the past few years running, as more and more Americans and foreign tourists alike are discovering the beauty of this exquisite area.

Perhaps one of the best known attractions in the park is Old Faithful. Some are surprised to discover that Yellowstone contains nearly 60% of the world’s geysers. Old Faithful, which is located in the portion of the park inside the state of Wyoming, is by far the most popular attraction in Yellowstone. Erupting at intervals ranging from 45 to 125 minutes, Old Faithful is capable of spraying more than 8,000 gallons of water in a single eruption.

In addition to Yellowstone National Park’s geysers, the park is home to several lakes, rivers, and mountain ranges. More than 2,000 camping sites make the park a perfect destination for those who love to enjoy the great outdoors, while a variety of different museums mean the park is also a great place for history lovers to enjoy. There are also many picnicking spots that are equipped with fire gates, picnic tables, and toilets.

Yellowstone is also home to a variety of different stores, most of which cater to the needs of the tourists enjoying the park. There are several gift shops that sell memorabilia that features views of the park, and grocery stores provide supplies for those picnicking and camping in Yellowstone. There are also several stores that provide fishing and recreational gear, for those visitors who are interested in taking advantage of the many recreational activities the park offers.

If you have never before visited Yellowstone, you will be amazed at the many things you can enjoy in this great location. Whether you are looking for a relaxing vacation filled with leisure time, or are hoping to get down and dirty while fishing and hiking, Yellowstone National Park offers something for everyone. You could be just like Kate Gosselin and her crew, and enjoy all of the attractions Yellowstone has to offer!”

Resource link:

Kate Gosselin Plus 8 in Yellowstone

Kate Plus Eight Crew Films in Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park Official Website

Discover the Attractions of Yellowstone National Park

Explore Wyoming’s Yellowstone Park

Hiker Saved from Bear in Yellowstone National Park

Hiker Saved from Bear in Yellowstone National Park

While vacationing with his family in Yellowstone National Park, David Beecham, age 37, was kayaking when he noticed a hiker walking toward the river. Hiker Erin Prophet was unaware that a bear was following her. Beecham caught Erin’s attention and warned her and the woman waded into the water. The bear did not stop the advance. Making a life or death decision, Beecham paddled his kayak toward Erin and pulled her to safety with the bear only 20 or 30 feet away. This daring rescue was captured on film due to the fact that the news media was onhand covering a Grizzly Bear attack a few days prior which led to a hiker’s death. Park Ranger Kerry Gunther told reporters that the bear following Prophet was a black Bear, and not a Grizzly.

Resource link:

KGW Website

West Linn Man Rescues Woman From Bear in Yellowstone Park

Yellowstone National Park Bear Allowed To Live

“Officials at Yellowstone National Park announced that they would not capture or kill a grizzly bear that fatally attacked a park visitor on Wednesday, July 6, 2011, according to a Reuters report. Park Superintendent Dan Wenk explained that, “”The bear’s behavior is consistent with a bear who was in a defensive posture. We did not see anything predatory in terms of the bear’s actions.”"

Yellowstone National Park Bear Allowed To Live

The attack occurred when the victim and his wife emerged from a forested area of trail into an open meadow and accidentally surprised a mother bear and her two cubs. Although the couple was 100 yards away when they noticed the bear, and began walking in the other direction, when they looked back, the bear was charging.

The bear attacked the male hiker first. The woman reportedly survived by falling to the ground, playing dead and letting the bear grab her daypack – she was not injured. When the bear left she called to other hikers for help. Her companion suffered multiple bite and clawing injuries. This is the first time that a bear caused a human death in Yellowstone Park since 1986. That year, a grizzly killed a photographer when the photographer approached the bear too closely.

Park authorities report that the couple in the current attack generally responded appropriately. The best action, according to officials, when attacked, is playing dead. Running is not advised because bears will often charge as an intimidation tactic and will veer off or stop at the last second. Hikers can also reduce their chance of being attacked in the first place by making loud noises while they are hiking so that bears will be aware of their presence, and they can carry bear spray to use as a deterrent in an attack.

Park officials are talking several steps to make sure that the area around the attack is safe for visitors. Currently trails in a 100 square mile area around the site of the incident are closed. The area will not be reopened until officials are sure it is safe for visitors. Additionally, the bear believed to be involved in the attack is being monitored from the air. Officials also collected DNA from the bear to use for comparison in future incidents.

Officials stated bear activity warning signs are posted in the area now but that no other bear activity has been reported in the area. An unusually snowy winter means that bears stayed at lower altitudes in the park longer into the summer than normal this year.”

Find out more, visit:

Reuters

Initial Reuters Article About the Bear Attack

Yellowstone National Park’s Information on Bear Injuries and Fatalities

Yellowstone National Park’s Information on Minimizing Bear Encounters

National Parks Threatened

“America’s national parks are one of the most popular destinations for families, and have been so for almost 100 years.

National Parks Threatened

Unfortunately, a new study by the National Parks Conservation Association for Park Research reveals that our national parks are facing a number of threats that are affecting the water, air and wildlife. Over half the parks have been found to have poor air quality, and water pollution is rife. Nearly every park has suffered the loss of at least one plant or wildlife species, including bears, mountain lions, and gray wolves. Many examples have been uncovered of impact to the parks due to activities on adjacent land, and climate change could lead to the loss of glaciers in Glacier National Park, and the disappearance of Joshua trees in Joshua Tree National Park. Invasive plants have taken over in certain areas, choking out native plants.

With limited funding, the Parks Service is unable to protect the cultural and historical artifacts, due to lack of storage and monitoring, and a reduction in staff. This has led to poaching and vandalism.

“”Our national parks have been around for almost 100 years, and they are more popular that ever with families flocking to visit them every summer. But many people don’t know about the threats that increasingly impact the wildlife, water and air within our parks. The historic sites that tell the story of the Civil War, the civil rights movement and the other chapters of America’s history are also suffering. This is a turning point in the history of our parks, and we must not allow our generation to break the promise of our parks to future generations”" says Tom Kiernan, NPCA president.

The NCPA has certain recommendations for the Obama administration, including immediate action to protect our national parks. 2016 marks the Centennial of the Parks Service, and a long-term plan focussing on land conservation will prepare the parks for this occasion.

In 1916 when the National Park system was created, the vision was to “”leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations”". It is recommended that the President issue an Executive Order that once again commits to this vision.

This Executive Order would require federal agencies to protect wildlife habitat, address the issue of the effect of climate change on wildlife, and open new parks focussing on themes such as cultural diversity.

The NCPA’s “”State of America’s National Parks”" report is a reminder that our parks are a vital part of the country’s history, and they deserve the attention and protection that will ensure their survival for the sake of future generations.”

America’s national park keep falling apart

NPCA Report: America’s National Parks Have Troubling Problems With Natural, Cultural, Historic Resources

‘The State of America’s National Parks’ NCPA report

Yellowstone Oil Spill

On July 3rd, 2011, an oil spill occurred in the Yellowstone River, Montana. Approximately 42,000 gallons were released through a ruptured pipeline, about 16 miles southwest of Billings. Crews from Exxon Mobil have been surveying the area to determine how far the spill has spread, with Exxon spokesman Alan Jeffers claiming that the majority of the oil was confined to within 10 miles of the initial spill.

Yellowstone Oil Spill - 100

The Governor of Montana has disagreed with this estimate, and oil has been reported as far as 100 miles away. Clean up crews are using booms and absorbent material to try and contain the oil, while Exxon Mobil has said it will send a team to aid them. There is a fear that this may affect the fishing industry in the area, as well as the tourism industry. The EPA is working with state agencies and will be testing water, soil and air samples, as well as investigating what exactly caused the spill. Exxon will be held responsible for the cost of the cleanup. The Governor of Montana, Brian Schweitzer, is scheduled to tour the affected area today, and will conduct a media briefing along with environmental and disaster response officials.|

Yellowstone National Park Oil Spill

Residents in Montana are angry as fears rise that the weekend oil spill into the Yellowstone River is headed to North Dakota, the L.A. Times reported July 4. High water levels have hindered cleanup efforts as Gov. Brian Schweitezer, a Democrat, tried to assess the extent of the ExxonMobil spill. Residents fear damage to the downstream fisheries and wildlife and have been highly critical of ExxonMobil’s cleanup efforts so far.

Yellowstone National Park Oil Spill

The spill was first detected Friday, July 1, when pressure reading for the pipeline dropped, according Exxon. Workers were able to shut the one-foot pipe within six minutes, according to ExxonMobil. Estimates are that between 750 to 1,000 barrels of oil, or as much as 42,000 gallons, spilled into the Yellowstone River.

Cleanup efforts so far have been led by ExxonMobil contractors, with more than 120 workers devoted to the cleanup, according to an ExxonMobil spokesman. Because of high water lever levels, though, only a few workers were able to lay pads and booms to trap the oil. Fears are that the oil may be seeping under the booms.

Exxon has crews flying over the area and claims the spill is contained within ten miles of the spill, a figure disputed by Gov. Schweitezer.

“Nobody can say definitively, it’s too early. We need boats on the water,” said the governor. Because of the high-water, though, boating is considered unsafe.

Organization efforts have been started by locals residents to demand greater transparency and accountability from ExxonMobil. Alexis Bonogofsky, an area rancher, an her husband Mike Scott, a member of the Sierra Club, blamed the local government for relying too much on ExxonMobil assessments.

“Nobody is telling us what we could have been exposed to,”" said Scott.

Exxon’s Jeffers says that nothing is being withheld from the public and that company tests, including air monitoring readings, have shown no cause for public health concerns.

The pipeline was last inspected by Exxon in 2009, using a robotic device to detect for flaws or corrosion, and was found to be safe. It was temporarily shut down in May when company officials were concerned that seasonal flooding could damage the pipe, but was reopened after an assessment of the line’s safety record. State and company officials speculated that a record rainfall later that month may have damaged the pipe.

Fears now are that the spill could reach the Missouri River in North Dakota. According to Yellowstone County Commissioner Bill Kennedy, there were reports of oil as far as 100 miles from the site, contradicting Exxon’s figures.

New Maine National Park Possible

“Roxanne Quimby is causing a lot of waves in the state of Maine.

For those who may not know, Roxanne Quimby is the founder of, Burt’s Bees Cosmetics, which has made her a millionaire.

national park

She is a conservationist, and has bought tens of thousands of acres of land in Nothern Maine.

She intends to turn 70,000 acres of land into a national park, known as, Maine Woods National Park.

She would like to have a visitor’s center named after Henry David Thoreau, who visited this part of Maine three times in the 1800′s.

This may sound all good, and to some people it is. However, the hunters and snowmobilers are not so happy. Being a conservationist, Quimby, has forbidden all hunting, logging, and snowmobiling activities on the land.

Although, some would say, Quimby, is being fair because she is allowing 30,000 acres of the her land to be used for such activities as hunting, fishing, snowmobiling and so on. This would all run like a state park.”

Learn more, click here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/03/29/2180114/founder-of-burts-bees-has-a-national.html

Choosing The Right National Park Hotel

Spending time in a national park is a great way to pass a few days. There is very little that can compare to waking up surrounded by the most sublime panoramas and breathtaking vistas. Choosing the right national park hotel for your stay is essential if you want to have the most memorable and enjoyable experience.

National Park Hotel

The range of accommodation available in the country’s national parks is as diverse as the landscapes that are on offer. Apart from plush hotels, there are also affordable motels, traditional cabins and cottages, campgrounds, and RV sites. Before you make any booking, it is important to plan ahead and do your research. Understand that the most popular accommodation will be reserved far in advance during the busiest times of the year.

Prior to planning your trip, you will need to identify the national park you would like to visit and the type of accommodation that you would prefer. In popular parks, such as Yellowstone, there are a huge number of options. The less well known parks would not offer visitors such a wide choice, though this does not mean the accommodation would be of a poor standard.

Be aware that you may not be able to find luxurious lodging within a national park itself, though it can be possible in adjacent areas and towns. If staying outside the gates of a park, you may have to cover a considerable distance each day to travel between the hotel chosen and the park itself.

An interesting option that is worth considering would be to rent a cabin or cottage that has close up views of the pristine environment of the particular park. Many people prefer the option of self contained lodgings as they offer more privacy and a greater number of homely facilities. Being able to cook your own food, and relax in old fashioned comfort can add to the timeless appeal of a visit to a national park. As a general rule, cabins and cottages would be more costly than a hotel or motel, though this would of course depend upon the standard that exists and the time of the year.

Always consider the type of facilities you would like in the park accommodation. The option of an outdoor hot tub, were you can soak serenely at night whilst gazing up at the heavens, can make the stay a lot more enjoyable.

If you were to opt for a regular hotel, the attitude of the staff would be of prime importance. The employees should be able to offer you advice and suggestions as to how to make the best out of the experience. Also, you may prefer to stay in a hotel that offers guided tours of the park.

For the hardy traveller, there is always the option of sleeping out under canvas. Camping would allow you to get in touch with a park’s true environment. Most national park campgrounds are clean and well maintained. The only issues can be a lack of amenities and home comforts.

For more information visit http://alaska.org/denali/denali-lodging.htm