Lake Mead tops list of deadliest US national parks - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Lake Mead tops list of deadliest US national parks

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Water levels at Lake Mead are seen in this undated file image. (File/FOX5) Water levels at Lake Mead are seen in this undated file image. (File/FOX5)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

The deadliest national park of the last decade is in our backyard.

At 254 deaths counted, Lake Mead National Recreation Area was named the deadliest federal outdoor recreation spot in the U.S. by Outside magazine.

In its description of the 1.5-million acre Lake Mead, Outside wrote, "(Its) high temperatures are brutal and the rugged terrain claims an average of 25 casualties each year."

The publication drew attention, though, to the 290-square-mile body of water. Outside counted 10 deaths in the park in 2016, with four of them drownings.

And, to drive home the point, Outside gave Lake Mead the distinction of having "the highest number of homicides of any Park Service unit over the past decade." Six killings at Lake Mead were counted.

Lake Mead Public Affairs Officer, Christie Vanover, said 275 people have died at Lake Mead National Recreation Area from 2006 to 2016. She said the leading cause of death is drowning.

"This lake is a very powerful body of water and many people will sometimes treat it like a swimming pool, they think they if they're a strong swimmer in a pool than they can handle the lake but it's without really powerful and without a life jacket it can and it has taken people's lives unfortunately,” Vanover said.

The park provides life jackets that swimmers can borrow for free.

Vanover also recommended visitors bring plenty of water and tell someone where they’re going and how long they expect to be there. She also advised drivers to follow the speed limits and don’t drive impaired. 

Lake Mead's closest competitor, Yosemite National Park, reported only 150 deaths in the last 10 years.

The rest of the top 10 list included Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Golden Gate, Glen Canyon, Denali, Great Smoky Mountains, Grand Teton, and Natchez Trace national parks.

You can view the full list here.

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