Nevada Falls in Yosemite National Park. Walter Siegmund photo.
In a departure from previous practice, Trump administration officials have decided to leave many pieces of public land open to visitors during the government shutdown. Since Dec. 21st, the day on which many federal employees were furloughed, a total of seven people have died in national parks.
Parks Service spokesman Jeremy Barnum said in an interview that four of those deaths are believed to be suicides, with the other three being accidental. The shutdown has delayed full investigations of the deaths, so information about the events is limited.
Horseshoe Bend Overlook in Glen Canyon Recreation Area. Paxson Woelber photo.
On December 24th, a 14-year-old girl fell 700 feet at the Horseshoe Bend Overlook in the Glen Canyon Recreation Area in Arizona. The following day, a man visiting Yosemite died falling into a river after sustaining a head injury near Nevada Fall. On the 27th, a woman was killed by a falling tree in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
With no employees to collect entry fees or enforce visitation limits, visitors have been flooding into the parks. In many popular areas high visitation combined with low staffing has led to seriously deteriorating conditions, a prime example being the accumulation of human and material waste reported in Yosemite, Rocky Mountain, Death Valley, and Joshua Tree National Parks.
UPDATE: One skier who was recovered from the slide debris died Thursday evening in a Taos hospital. The other remains in critical condition in an Albuquerque hospital. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims. An avalanche buried several skiers at New Mexico’s Taos Ski Resort Thursday morning. According to the Taos News, the slide occurred in the K3 chute off the resort’s famed Kachina Peak. Two male skiers were extracted from the debris, revived using
Thanks to an atmospheric river sitting on top of California, the Sierra received a considerable amount of new snow. Turns out lots of snow isn’t always good news, that is if you own a private jet. According to the Sacramento Bee, fresh snow piled on the back of a Cessna Citation X jet at the Truckee Tahoe Airport on Wednesday, ultimately tipping it on its tail. Well, there’s a reason why its called “Sierra Cement”. At least conditions look much better in the mountains, with resorts
A powerful storm is expected to provide 12-18 inches in the Sierra Nevada at lake level and 2-4 feet at upper elevations late Wednesday night into Thursday evening. Total snowfall will be 4-5 feet at upper elevations of the Sierra with higher amounts on the Sierra Crest Wednesday night to Friday morning. This incoming storm is the going to crush the mountains with heavy winds initially (The real McCoy). Winds are like the pessimist that just wants to crush your endorphins. Well, it's going