Grand Canyon National Park Rangers Just Alerted Visitors to Look Out for These "Hazards"
The warning follows a recent incident that occurred at the popular vacation destination.
A trip to Grand Canyon National Park tops many travel bucket lists, with some of the most magnificent views in the country. According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Grand Canyon is the second-most visited national park in the U.S., just behind the Great Smoky Mountains, drawing roughly 5.9 million travelers each year. But while this beloved destination is certainly a stunning place to visit, it's also not without its dangers. Now, Grand Canyon National Park Rangers have issued an alert to all visitors about certain "hazards" they could encounter. Read on to find out what rangers are urging you to look out for, and what prompted the new warning.
The Grand Canyon has multiple safety protocols in place for visitors.
According to the National Park Service (NPS), there are a few key components to staying safe at the Grand Canyon, some of which are specific to the time of year. In the summer, temperatures on the South Rim linger somewhere in the 80s, but within the Grand Canyon, it can reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Hikers are warned to take caution regardless of hiking experience, as rangers respond to "heat exhausted hikers" daily. In the winter, weather and visibility change rapidly, and hikers should prepare for freezing temperatures and icy trails.
General warnings are issued for those walking around the canyon itself, and the NPS also strongly urges visitors never to throw anything over the edge of the canyon. Falling objects can have serious consequences by injuring hikers as well as wildlife below—and could even start a landslide.
Now, park rangers are highlighting additional safety regulations in light of a recent tragedy.
A visitor fell from the ledge on the North Rim.
According to a news release from the NPS, on Aug. 26, a 44-year-old man slipped and fell from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, west of the Bright Angel Point Trail. The Grand Canyon Regional Communications received a report of the incident at 3:30 p.m., and park rangers later found the man's body "approximately 200 feet below the rim." The man was "off trail when he accidentally fell off the edge," the news release states.
The incident is currently being investigated by the NPS and the Coconino County Medical Examiner's Office, but the news release did not include any additional information.
Park rangers stress the need to be aware of your surroundings.
In light of the tragedy, Grand Canyon Park Rangers issued guidance for visitors to ensure a "safe and memorable vacation to Grand Canyon."
Park rangers advise keeping a safe distance and staying at least six feet from the rim, while also remaining on designated trails and walkways. Visitors are instructed not to climb over barriers in the event there is no railing or fencing. You should also be aware of where the edge is located, making sure you "watch foot placement and look for trip hazards," per the news release.
When backing up, make sure you look behind you to see where you're going, and don't perform any physical stunts, run, or jump while near the rim. Lastly, make sure you know who's in your party and where they're situated. "Keep an eye on all the people in your group, especially small children," the news release states. "Make sure that your travel companions have both feet firmly planted on pavement or developed trails."
Other visitors have lost their lives at the park this year.
Unfortunately, the latest incident is not isolated, and two other deaths have been reported in the last five months at Grand Canyon National Park.
While hiking on the Bright Angel Trail on June 2, a 41-year-old female was reported as being "in distress" to the communications center. CPR was performed by bystanders prior to the arrival of rescue personnel, who continued efforts, but she was not able to be resuscitated.
In April, park officials were also alerted to an "unresponsive river trip participant near Ledges Camp," which is located along the Colorado River. Members of her group had attempted CPR after the hiker fell nearly 20 feet. The 34-year-old female was transported to Ledges Camp by helicopter, which was required due to the time of night, where she was then pronounced dead.