Each year in Yosemite, rangers complete 200–250 emergency response missions, and there are at least five accident-related deaths. The Preventive Search and Rescue (PSAR) program aims to reduce visitor accident, injury and fatality rates in Yosemite by 20 percent by 2020. Meeting that goal will mean up to 50 people and their families every year would be spared the pain and grief associated with serious injury or death.
Visitor education is crucial to achieving that target. In 2016, PSAR interns and volunteers spent more than 6,000 hours working to improve safety in the park by talking with visitors on trails and at popular sightseeing spots, at campgrounds and other lodging locations, and during special park events.
The team also focused on educating the public through customized signs for specific hazards; through GPS-activated audio messages on shuttles; and through outreach online, on the radio, and in local schools and communities. In addition to sharing preemptive safety messages, volunteers and interns supported emergency response efforts by helping with Search and Rescue (SAR) operations.
By the end of 2016, the PSAR team had tallied more than 37,000 visitor contacts — a record for the program. Despite increased visitation in 2016, the rate of SAR incidents per 100,000 visitors dropped by more than 5 percent.
Your gifts supported a successful program that helps ensure visitors can safely enjoy the wonders of Yosemite. Thank you for supporting your park!
Completed in partnership with Yosemite National Park and Friends of Yosemite Search and Rescue.