It’s not every day St. Louis tops a list of the safest places in the U.S., so we need to enjoy this one while we can: A new study concludes our own Gateway Arch is the very safest of America’s national parks.
This proves what many city dwellers have long suspected: bears and mountain lions and sheer cliffs are way more dangerous than a little random gunfire.
The study was done by Kuhl, which looked at seven key metrics: total deaths, missing people, search-and-rescue missions, park ranger presence, proximity to hospitals, trail alerts and visitor data. And with 1.9 million annual visitors, zero search-and-rescue missions, zero missing people and zero fatalities, well, it’s easy to see how we’ve got Yosemite beat.
Indeed, the most dangerous national park doesn’t just lack the Gateway Arch’s proximity to hospitals; it also has a fair number of fatalities. The study reports 165 between 2007 and 2022, with another five people missing. The second most dangerous park, Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, tallied another 127 deaths.
How are all these people dying, you ask? Well, it’s not our popular local practices of botched carjackings and random gun violence. A total of 20.3 percent across the national park systems are simply falling. Another 15.4 percent are medical incidents.
Complain all you want about downtown St. Louis, but few visitors die from falls. And while medical incidents surely claim a number of our residents, the .14 square miles of the Arch grounds seem unlikely to induce heart attacks — and if they do, just think about all these world-class hospitals only a mile or two away!
We’ve got it good here. If only the Grand Canyon could say the same.