One last sunset

One last sunset

Suicides in western national parks
National park vistas in the Southwest, like this image of Square Tower House, may draw tourists wanting to end their lives in a beautiful place. Mesa Verde National Park Superintendent Clifford Spencer says, “Law enforcement rangers receive crisis intervention training in their annual refresher course. Unfortunately, most of our interactions occur after a person has committed suicide.”
Drawing more than 3.5 million annual visitors, the Grand Canyon also attracts despondent tourists. Suicides and accidental fatalities are chronicled in the book Death in the Grand Canyon. Statistically, the Grand Canyon’s South Rim and California’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Golden Gate Bridge have a high percentage of the suicides that occur in western national parks.
Rose Chilcoat, now associate director of Great Old Broads for Wilderness, was devastated by a young man’s suicide when she was a National Park Service ranger at Mesa Verde National Park. Chilcoat’s work experience at Mesa Verde and with the Park Service led to a career in public lands conservation.
Chief Ranger Mark Davison at Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction says park rangers there have had three suicide-intervention incidents between January and May, with two despondent visitors “on the outside of the railing” before being talked back to safety by park rangers.
Colorado National Monument includes vertical drops that have resulted in a variety of suicide attempts and suicide fatalities with visitors purposely driving vehicles over the edge. In one case, a visitor died by pedaling a mountain bike over a cliff. “The stress of dealing with suicides also affects rangers, especially when they know the local people involved,” says Chief Ranger Mark Davison, who has greater ranger coverage on weekend nights and staff attend training to recognize despondency.
The vertical drop of 800-foot cliffs at Colorado National Monument have resulted in a variety of suicide attempts and suicide fatalities with visitors purposely driving vehicles over the edge. In one case, a visitor died by pedaling a mountain bike over a cliff. ìThe stress of dealing with suicides also affects rangers, especially when they know the local people involved,î says Chief Ranger Mark Davison, who has greater ranger coverage on weekend nights and staff attend training to recognize despondency.

One last sunset

National park vistas in the Southwest, like this image of Square Tower House, may draw tourists wanting to end their lives in a beautiful place. Mesa Verde National Park Superintendent Clifford Spencer says, “Law enforcement rangers receive crisis intervention training in their annual refresher course. Unfortunately, most of our interactions occur after a person has committed suicide.”
Drawing more than 3.5 million annual visitors, the Grand Canyon also attracts despondent tourists. Suicides and accidental fatalities are chronicled in the book Death in the Grand Canyon. Statistically, the Grand Canyon’s South Rim and California’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Golden Gate Bridge have a high percentage of the suicides that occur in western national parks.
Rose Chilcoat, now associate director of Great Old Broads for Wilderness, was devastated by a young man’s suicide when she was a National Park Service ranger at Mesa Verde National Park. Chilcoat’s work experience at Mesa Verde and with the Park Service led to a career in public lands conservation.
Chief Ranger Mark Davison at Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction says park rangers there have had three suicide-intervention incidents between January and May, with two despondent visitors “on the outside of the railing” before being talked back to safety by park rangers.
Colorado National Monument includes vertical drops that have resulted in a variety of suicide attempts and suicide fatalities with visitors purposely driving vehicles over the edge. In one case, a visitor died by pedaling a mountain bike over a cliff. “The stress of dealing with suicides also affects rangers, especially when they know the local people involved,” says Chief Ranger Mark Davison, who has greater ranger coverage on weekend nights and staff attend training to recognize despondency.
The vertical drop of 800-foot cliffs at Colorado National Monument have resulted in a variety of suicide attempts and suicide fatalities with visitors purposely driving vehicles over the edge. In one case, a visitor died by pedaling a mountain bike over a cliff. ìThe stress of dealing with suicides also affects rangers, especially when they know the local people involved,î says Chief Ranger Mark Davison, who has greater ranger coverage on weekend nights and staff attend training to recognize despondency.
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