- Visitors to the Grand Canyon are still standing dangerously close to the edge of its rim, despite four recent deaths in the national park.
- Tourists at the park told NBC News that they didn’t believe they were putting themselves in danger when they got close to the rim’s edge.
- John Quinley, a National Parks Service spokesman, said barriers won’t necessarily encourage more safety, adding that the park hopes to educate visitors in other ways.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
Visitors to the Grand Canyon are still standing dangerously close to the edge of the landmark’s rim, despite recent deaths in the national park.
A 70-year-old woman fell from the Grand Canyon’s rim on Tuesday, marking the fourth person to die at the national park in the last month. The events surrounding each fall – particularly if any of them were taking pictures – are unclear.
In the days since the most recent death, park visitors are still inching close to dangerous drop-offs to see over the rim’s edge and take photos.
“People walk behind the railings, over the top of railings, hang their feet over the edge. So more signs is not necessarily going to encourage more safety,” John Quinley, a National Parks Service spokesman, told NBC News.
Tourists at the park told NBC News that they didn’t believe they were putting themselves in danger when they got close to the rim’s edge.
Instead, the tourists said they thought those who had fallen likely weren’t paying attention or were acting risky near the edge. NBC reporters saw tourists attempt handstands, yoga poses, and more near the canyon’s edge.
Quinley told INSIDER that while the recent deaths have not changed the park’s position on safety barriers, the park wants to focus on safety education for visitors.
“The south rim of the canyon is 277 miles long, and we feel it is more effective to focus on visitor education vs additional barriers,” he said in an email. “We regularly evaluate our messages to visitors, update web pages devoted to safety, provide printed safety advice in brochures, kiosks, etc., as well as provide training to staff in preventive search and rescue. And, while there always have been and will be accidents, the vast majority of our 6.3 million visitors have a safe experience whether they are using the designated walking paths, or even if they veer off a bit for a different view.”
Park spokesperson Vanessa Ceja-Cervantes told CNN that an average of 12 people die in the park each year, though few are usually from fatal falls.
“The causes of those deaths range from heat, to drowning, to medical issues, and more. High elevation plays a role in some of the fatalities,” she said.
Park staff said in a statement that they encourage visitors to keep a safe distance from the canyon’s rim and stay on designated trails.
- Read more:
- Horseshoe Bend is imposing an entrance fee for visitors thanks to Instagram influencers who keep posing for photos there
- 19 breathtaking photos of the Grand Canyon that will make you want to drop everything and visit
- The Grand Canyon is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. Here are 13 things you might not know about it.
- Grand Canyon National Park turned 100 today. Photos show its stunning history and evolution.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.