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The most dangerous predator in the US National Parks is... a car

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The most dangerous predator in the US National Parks is... a car

Old 04-25-12, 09:21 AM
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The most dangerous predator in the US National Parks is... a car

Interesting statistics in the recent issue of National Geographic.

The #1 cause of fatal accidents in national parks is drowning, at 37%. That's not surprising. But the second cause is... car accidents, at 23%. Animal attacks amount to 0.6%. So, when you're in a national park you are nearly 40 times more likely to die in a car wreck than being killed by a bear or a cougar.

On a side note, the main cause of most of those deaths is actually stupidity, but that's a whole different story.

I hope National geographic won't send their lawyers after me for posting this image.

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Old 04-25-12, 09:27 AM
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IMO a lot of the parks should be carfree.
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Old 04-25-12, 09:39 AM
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I've heard several times that technically deer are the most dangerous animal in the US, I'm surprised they don't have a statistic for that. I'd bet they account for a good portion of the car accidents in parks.

I used to live in southern illinois, and driving five miles on a backroad at night you were likely to see at least 20 or 30 deer. Every couple of weeks you'd see a horrid wreck on the way into Shawnee National Forest. And almost every day there was a new deer carcass on the side of the road along with the obvious evidence that it had been hit by a vehicle. I consider myself lucky to be alive with how easy it is to go fast on those roads and how insanely deer sometimes act when encountered by a car.
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Old 04-25-12, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
IMO a lot of the parks should be carfree.
Absofreakinglutely! And motorbike free. Leave the vehicle at the gate and hike or bike. They would have shuttle buses for those who can't or are unwilling to walk/ride.

Originally Posted by BenzFanatic View Post
I've heard several times that technically deer are the most dangerous animal in the US
Yeah, I've read that too. Makes sense. But perhaps for some reason that doesn't apply to these parks but the country as whole? However, if you think of it, it's still the car that's the problem here.

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Old 04-25-12, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
Yeah, I've read that too. Makes sense. But perhaps for some reason that doesn't apply to these parks but the country as whole? However, if you think of it, it's still the car that's the problem here.
I've come awfully close to hitting a couple of them at speed (maybe 35 mph on a downhill) on my bike. That would have sucked for both of us. Deer don't wear reflective clothing so they are asking for it.

I don't have a statistic to cite but I did read several years ago that deer kill well over a hundred people a year in the U.S. It didn't say how.
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Old 04-25-12, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
Absofreakinglutely! And motorbike free. Leave the vehicle at the gate and hike or bike. They would have shuttle buses for those who can't or are unwilling to walk/ride.
That's sort of what Acadia National Park does here, and the locals love it. From December 1st through to April 8th or so, all the gates are closed so that only foot and bicycle traffic is allowed into the park, except for one short stretch that is used by commuters. In the summer, cars are allowed (although I'd say the motorcycles with custom exhausts are by far the greatest nuisance), but the park service, in partnership with L. L. Bean, runs a free shuttle throughout the park and the island. Unfortunately, there is still such an aversion to taking the bus, that people would prefer to have to park up to a mile from the beach, and walk down with all their gear, than to take a free bus that will drop them right off at their destination. My species confuses me sometimes.
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Old 04-25-12, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Llamero View Post
That's sort of what Acadia National Park does here, and the locals love it. From December 1st through to April 8th or so, all the gates are closed so that only foot and bicycle traffic is allowed into the park, except for one short stretch that is used by commuters. In the summer, cars are allowed (although I'd say the motorcycles with custom exhausts are by far the greatest nuisance), but the park service, in partnership with L. L. Bean, runs a free shuttle throughout the park and the island. Unfortunately, there is still such an aversion to taking the bus, that people would prefer to have to park up to a mile from the beach, and walk down with all their gear, than to take a free bus that will drop them right off at their destination. My species confuses me sometimes.
Well, AFAIK they do this mainly because the weather conditions during that time are very rough and way too dangerous for "tourist driving". At least that's what I was told when we visited Acadia last Summer. The #1 thing we hated was the crowds and traffic on the park roads. We stayed too far from the park to ride our bikes in, but we'd much prefer to take our bikes on the shuttle bus. So, unfortunately we added to the traffic. But they'd need lots more buses if cars were banned from the park.

But then, the Americans have God given right to drive everywhere

And don't get me started on loud motorcycles...
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Old 04-25-12, 02:47 PM
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Edward Abbey had a few opinions on this subject...

“Wilderness and motors are incompatible and the former can best be experienced, understood and enjoyed when the machines are left behind where they belong -- on the superhighways and in the parking lots, on the reservoirs and in the marinas.”
Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire

“Industrial tourism is a threat to the national parks. But the chief victims of the system are the motorized tourists. They are being robbed and robbing themselves. So long as they are unwilling to crawl out of their cars they will not discover the treasures of the national parks and will never escape the stress and turmoil of the urban-suburban complexes which they had hoped, presumably, to leave behind for a while.”
Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire

“To all accusations of excessive development the administrators can reply, as they will if pressed hard enough, that they are giving the public what it wants, that their primary duty is to serve the public not preserve the wilds. "Parks are for people" is the public relations slogan, which decoded means that the parks are for people-in-automobiles. Behind the slogan is the assumption that the majority of Americans, exactly like the managers of the tourist industry, expect and demand to see their national parks from the comfort, security and convenience of their automobiles.

Is this assumption correct? Perhaps. Does that justify the continued and increasing erosion of the parks? It does not.”
Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire

“The automobile, which began as a transportation convenience, has become a bloody tyrant (50,000 lives a year), and it is the responsibility of the park service, as well as that of everyone else concerned with preserving both wilderness and civilization, to begin a campaign of resistance.”
Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire
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Old 04-25-12, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by BenzFanatic View Post
I've heard several times that technically deer are the most dangerous animal in the US, I'm surprised they don't have a statistic for that. I'd bet they account for a good portion of the car accidents in parks.

I used to live in southern illinois, and driving five miles on a backroad at night you were likely to see at least 20 or 30 deer. Every couple of weeks you'd see a horrid wreck on the way into Shawnee National Forest. And almost every day there was a new deer carcass on the side of the road along with the obvious evidence that it had been hit by a vehicle. I consider myself lucky to be alive with how easy it is to go fast on those roads and how insanely deer sometimes act when encountered by a car.
I don't think most car-deer accidents kill humans, although the deer is often dead. But hit a moose and that's a different thing. Anyway, it doesn't seem quite right to say that the deer are the most dangerous animals. I rarely see one texting while he leaps across the road.
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Old 04-25-12, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
I don't think most car-deer accidents kill humans, although the deer is often dead. But hit a moose and that's a different thing. Anyway, it doesn't seem quite right to say that the deer are the most dangerous animals. I rarely see one texting while he leaps across the road.
The quote said something like "what animal kills most people" not "what animal is most dangerous", and indeed more people die in car collisions with deer than get killed by bears, wolves, etc. Of course, this was NOT said in a serious context.

The actual killer here is the car and the fault is human, not deer's.
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Old 04-25-12, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
But then, the Americans have God given right to drive everywhere
Originally Posted by Roody View Post
IMO a lot of the parks should be carfree.
Don't you think most parks just wouldn't exist except for the automobile?

I can't imagine what a park would be like without a bunch of automobiles. It'd probably be like the Appalachian trail in most spots. You could park outside, get a bus to an attraction and then walk around.

Nice backpacking locations I bet
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Old 04-26-12, 07:56 AM
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Unfortunately I doubt the parks will ever be car free. From the early development of the parks it was decided that to encourage people to visit roads for their cars were needed.

I would like to see a ban on motorhomes and large campers in all the parks. Gateway communities could easily accomodate those needs.
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Old 04-26-12, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by gerv View Post
Don't you think most parks just wouldn't exist except for the automobile?

I can't imagine what a park would be like without a bunch of automobiles. It'd probably be like the Appalachian trail in most spots. You could park outside, get a bus to an attraction and then walk around.

Nice backpacking locations I bet
I believe some of the national parks already have severe restrictions on car entry.

Here in Michigan, we have a state park that is also a town, located on an island where no cars whatsoever are allowed, and never have been.
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Old 04-26-12, 11:17 AM
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Yosemite is the example of what a park should not be. No cars should be allowed in the park. I love parking my car for during a stay at a park and not starting it for the length of my stay. Our parks are being loved to death. Private cars, RVs, and motorcycles have had a huge negative impact on parks. After being stuck in traffic jams & seeing fights in parking lots, I've starting avoiding the more popular parks.
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Old 04-26-12, 04:40 PM
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Isle Royale National Park in far northern Michigan is carfree except for maybe a couple Park Service vehicles. A little further south, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore has only one road in the entire park. and that is unpaved. Most of the park is accessible only by hiking or canoe/kayak.
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Old 04-26-12, 05:40 PM
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One thing to remember though, is a balance. For example, in Washington, people are taking nature preservation to the extreme and are lobbying for the removal of fire-lookouts and hiking trails. The problem with this is that if no one can go and see and enjoy these lands, they will not want to spend tax payer money preserving it. Therefore, cars are kind of a necessary evil, where by allowing people to enjoy the parks in as many ways as possible, people will be far more likely to not just support the current parks, but even the acquisition of more land. I can also assure you, at least with the rangers I've met with, that a LOT of planning goes into trying to balance everyone's interests and enjoyment, so that no one feels left out. But there will always be dicks in the world, like motorcyclists who like to decelerate by a cyclist, just so they can open the throttle the moment they pass and blast out your ear-drums.
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Old 04-26-12, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Isle Royale National Park in far northern Michigan is carfree except for maybe a couple Park Service vehicles. A little further south, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore has only one road in the entire park. and that is unpaved. Most of the park is accessible only by hiking or canoe/kayak.
Don't forget Mackinac Island either.

And I am of the opinion that the car isn't just a killer in the National Parks, it is a killer everywhere it goes!

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Old 04-26-12, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
Don't forget Mackinac Island either.

And I am of the opinion that the car isn't just a killer in the National Parks, it is a killer everywhere it goes!

Aaron
I thought I mentioned Mackinac Island in an earlier post here. It is a state park, the entire island, including the village and the hotels.

Here's a rather strange video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5tJaRrZZMs
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Old 04-27-12, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post

Here's a rather strange video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5tJaRrZZMs
Um... WTF? I mean the horses, yuck...
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Old 04-27-12, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
Um... WTF? I mean the horses, yuck...
I know. I thought it was a Pure Michigan ad but there ain't nothing pure about it!
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Old 04-28-12, 12:15 PM
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I see where 1% was bicycle accident. I wonder what category you would be in if you were attacked by an animal while on your bicycle and fell off a cliff???

sorry, I'm not quite right in the head..


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Old 04-28-12, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by KenSmith View Post
I see where 1% was bicycle accident. I wonder what category you would be in if you were attacked by an animal while on your bicycle and fell off a cliff???

sorry, I'm not quite right in the head..

Very valid question! Perhaps whatever was the actual cause of death? So it would be fall in your example.
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