Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Searches in National Parks - Research

This photo was taken at the Humpback Rocks visitor Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway following an overnight search for a lost hiker. All these searchers had been up for almost 48 hours. The following article gives the latest information on searches in national park service areas.

Study: Park Service averages 11 searches per day
SALT LAKE CITY — Whether it’s saving a stranded hiker with a broken leg or fishing out a capsized boater, a new study says national parks launch 11 search-and-rescue operations on an average day.
Travis Heggie, an assistant professor at the University of North Dakota who headed up the study, analyzed search-and-rescue reports from 1992 to 2007, when there were more than 65,000 operations in national parks with costs exceeding $58 million.
Those most commonly in need of help? Day hikers, young men and boaters. Weekends were the busiest.
The results are similar to an earlier analysis by Heggie of national parks in Utah, which found young men on day hikes were among the most likely to need a rescue.

You can read more about search operations in my book A Park Ranger's Life: Thirty Two Years Protecting Our National Parks. The book is with the printers now and should be availalbe in November.

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