Is it safe to visit national parks alone?

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To say “national park” is to summon visions of pristine waterways, breathtaking vistas and gorgeous natural palaces. You might think of the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Redwoods, the Rockies and Niagara Falls.

But stories abound about how dangerous these areas can be. While we have managed to tame many of these areas, the point is to leave as much of them as wild as possible. And wild can mean dangerous.

THE DANGERS OF THE OUTDOORS

Take the high-profile case of August 2015’s attack at Yellowstone, where a man was killed by a bear while out hiking. The curious thing about the Yellowstone incident is that he was a veteran hiker and an employee of the medical clinics in the park.

Anyone who’s been to Yellowstone knows the big deal they make about going out in groups of at least three. With bear mace. One of the tips they also give is to be sure to make as much noise as possible to not startle or walk up on bears, even going so far as to call out to them at random. Yet this man was found dead and partially eaten. Between 1980 and 2011, 32 people have been injured by grizzly bears at Yellowstone. The park even has a policy of euthanizing bears if it is believed that the bear specifically thought of a person as a food source.

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