Yosemite Death Trap: Fatalities Highest in Years, Say Experts

If you’ve been stuck home on a staycation all summer due to the longest recession ever, take heart- vacationing could be hazardous to your health.

Last week, three tourists were killed at Yosemite Park after attempting a risky pose for a photo opportunity. A 26-year-old woman was killed at the park Sunday while rockclimbing, adding to the summer death toll at the popular family destination. With the four fatalities at the park last week- all from falls of some description- the number of visitors killed at Yosemite has soared in 2011 to 14 so far.

Deaths at Yosemite aren’t an entirely unusual circumstance. Four to six visitors are generally killed at the park during each busy summer season, and 12 to 15 fatalities on average are recorded each year. A larger than average number of visitors to Yosemite have been cited as a possible cause, and one Yosemite official says many park-goers aren’t as aware as they should be of the dangers that come from such large, open swaths of nature:

“We’ve had more visitors, and a lot of people who come to Yosemite are coming from city situations,” [spokeswoman Kari] Cobb said. “A lot of people who are coming to the park aren’t familiar with nature and don’t understand the implications of their actions.”

A heavier than average cumulative winter snowfall has caused rivers and other water bodies to be more swollen, which could account for some of the deaths. Six of the deaths so far this year have been water related.

Have you planned a national park getaway this summer? Does the recent news come as a shock?