Tourists Risk their Lives for a Grand Canyon Photo-Op
The Grand Canyon National Park is a must on a bucket list. It will blow your mind even if you’re the most experienced traveler.
But as spectacular as this world wonder is, it is an unfortunate reality that this natural phenomenon has claimed many lives.
The Canyon is a mile deep and doesn’t have railings for the most part. This is understandable, given its huge size. In addition, the natural scene, already compromised in places by tourist infrastructure, would be even more spoilt if rails and fences were installed. In most places there is nothing to stop anyone from walking right to the edge, and while most of us would exercise a sensible amount of caution, some tourists are unpredictable.
According to the Arizona Daily Sun, more than 700 people have died at the Grand Canyon. On average, 12 people die here every year from various causes. Of the 18 deaths already recorded this year, two were from falling over the rim. Not surprisingly, most were men: Several were hopping from one rock to another or posing for pictures, including a 38-year-old father pretending to fall to scare his child, who then really fell to his death.
The edges of the canyon may look placid and safe, but here are several things to avoid:
• Distracted as we are with cell phones, texting, Twitter, and other things, when you can walk right up to the Grand Canyon edge from your tour bus; it’s bound to cause more deaths.
• Easy access (no guard rails) to Grand Canyon cliffs can create an illusion of safety in some peoples’ minds.
• People wander off the trails and climb rocks and ledges all the time.
• Some areas can be very slippery or just give way to your weight. So please use caution and respect the steep areas!
• People get goofy and pretend to fall off the cliffs and then they really fall.
• Some tourists will do anything to get a great vacation photo. They ignore safety signs and hop over rails. Please obey park rules and exercise common sense!
Even with the 700 plus deaths recorded, it is important to note that the Grand Canyon remains a safe place to enjoy one of nature’s great monuments. Considering the millions of visitors who tour the Grand Canyon every year, statistically it is not much more dangerous than a walk in the park. But for those who exercise extremely bad judgment, it can be a killer.