Make Safety Your Top Priority before You Hit the Trail Saint George UT
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Make Safety Your Top Priority before You Hit the Trail
Urban dangers in the wilderness
Not everyone comes to national parks to enjoy nature. While your chances of encountering an angry grizzly are greater than coming face to face with a serial killer, crime doesn't stop at the city limits. Theft and vandalism are so common in outdoor settings, many parks post warnings. And don't think remote locations offer protection against human predators - if you can reach an isolated local, anyone can, even if they're not in their right mind.
While the murder of Julianne Williams and Lollie Winans on the well-trekked Appalachian Trail got a lot of media coverage, it's not an isolated incident. The year before their deaths, 15 people were murdered in national parks across the U.S.
Considering 1.6 million people visited parks covering 83 million acres, the crime rate is low compared to urban centers, but personal safety in the outdoors should go beyond bad weather and broken compasses . To ensure you and your valuables stay safe, keep the following points in mind:
- There's safety in numbers. Whether you're hiking, skiing, caving or climbing, bring a buddy.
- Protect your valuables. Take only the cash and / or credit cards you will need.
- Leave unnecessary valuables, like rings and jewelry, at home.
- Don't leave cash, credit cards and small valuables in your vehicle. Bring them with you.
- If you must leave valuables in your vehicle, keep them out of sight, and lock your vehicle.
- Keep gear out of view. The more you expose your gear, the more opportunity for thieves to assess your belongings.
- Pack and organize the gear you'll need before you arrive.
- If you must organize at the trailhead or dock, do it quickly and don't draw attention.
- Avoid vulnerable and risky areas. When selecting a trailhead, campsite or destination,
- Ask local law enforcement and / or park rangers about the area's crime rate.
- When on a multi-day excursion , ask authorities to occasionally check on your vehicle.
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