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Contact: Sandra Snell-Dobert, 970-641-2337, ext. 227
On Monday, July 10 two incidents reminded park staff and visitors of the need to exercise care and caution while exploring the national park.
A 49-year old woman from Lakewood, Colorado lost her life on the Gunnison Route of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park late Monday afternoon. She was hiking with her sons, ages 16 and 20 when she collapsed. One son hiked out for help while the other stayed with her. When rangers arrived on the scene the woman had no pulse. A fire helicopter staged at Vernal, UT was used to recover the body. The accident is under investigation by the National Park Service and Montrose County Sheriff.
Also on Monday, a hiker lost his way when he left the North Vista Trail on the North Rim of Black Canyon. Fortunately, he found a National Park Service fencing crew who assisted him.
These two incidents remind park visitors, locals, and staff to be prepared. Know your route, know your limits, carry plenty of water, and be especially mindful of extreme temperatures. Canyon environments, especially those with dark rocks and little shade, are often much hotter than the surrounding terrain. Exertion and heat can be a deadly combination, particularly for those with other health conditions. Park rangers recommend against hiking in the heat of the day. The highest temperatures in the canyon typically occur between noon and five pm.