Last updated: 11:00 AM ET, Mon August 17 2015

Statistics Show US National Parks Not as Dangerous as Perceived

Destination & Tourism | Patrick Clarke | August 17, 2015

Statistics Show US National Parks Not as Dangerous as Perceived

While both tragic and shocking, last week's fatal grizzly bear attack at Yellowstone National Park represents an extremely rare occurrence when it comes to U.S. national parks.

Citing statistics from the National Park Service, CNN reported that wildlife was only responsible for killing six people at national parks from 2007 to 2013. And of those six deaths, just four were attributed to grizzly bears, with the others the result of a mountain goat and a snakebite. 

Over the same time span, a total of 1,025 people died at national parks, with a majority of the deaths being caused by everyday threats like crashes and falls. 

Just over eight percent of those deaths were attributed to natural or environmental causes, while even fewer, just 2.5 percent were attributed to heat illness. 

Keep in mind that nearly two billion people visited America's nearly five dozen national parks from 2007-2013, so the figure — while sad given that it represents loss of life — constitutes an extremely small proportion. For perspective, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the mortality rate among the general U.S. population in 2013 to be 821.5 deaths per 100,000 people, via CNN. 

Despite the miniscule threat to park visitors, it's wise to stay alert to park signs and warnings and to remain on designated trails and paths.

Visitors are also encouraged to travel with water and other supplies they could utilize in case of an emergency. 

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