Thursday, December 2, 2010

Suicides in Shenandoah National Park

So what's up with suicides in Shenandoah National Park?

Last week NPS Digest posted a story reporting that a park ranger had recently intervened in a suicide attempt. I'm glad the ranger arrived on the scene in time. But the part of the report I found most interesting was the mention that this was the seventh successful suicide intervention in Shenandoah in the last two years.

That caught my attention.

Then yesterday, NPS Digest published another report that a suicide victim was found in the Keyser Run area. At the end of this report it states that this was the fourth suicide in the Keyser Run area in the last decade (there was no mention on how many suicides have occurred in the rest of the park).

So what gives? I'm sure suicides happen all the time in national parks, and maybe we just never hear about them. But Shenandoah sure seems to have more than a lot.


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Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com

4 comments:

Eric Trogdon said...

Jeff,
I remember that we had several suicides in our parks. It was almost as if it was a peaceful place, that family members would not find them and the scene was easier to clean up.

Most we near the picnic area or parking lot. Shocking to find.

Eric

Smoky Mountain Hiker said...

Eric - you make some good points on why you would pick a park, but it sounds like Shenandoah has more than other nat'l parks, or the other parks just don't report theirs....

My Life Outdoors said...

Shenandoah may have less...they would have more if the rangers had not intervened. High suicide rate is one thing...A high, random, intervention rate is pretty odd. Maybe one of the rangers out there has a sixth since for these kind of things. What ever it is...Good work Shenandoah.

Bruce W. Bytnar said...

I spent 25 years of my National Park Service Career working on the Blue Ridge Parkway just south of Shenandoah NP. Both areas experienced a significant number of suicides and attempts. Most people do not realize the close proximity of these areas to urban areas of DC, Northern Va, Charlottesville, etc. Many suicide victims look for places that are peaceful, private, perhaps where they had positive memories, and where they will not be disturbed but then easily found after the act. The National Parks in this area and the easy access to them meet the bill.
I go into more detail on this topic in my book "A Park Ranger's Life:Thirty Two Years Protecting Our National Parks."
A well done to the Shenandoah Ranger staff for saving lives.