A hiker photographs Nevada Falls along the Mist Trail in Yosemite National… (Diana Marcum / Los Angeles…)
Re "Where to draw the line on trail?," June 10
The line on safety at Yosemite's Mist Trail, where multiple hikers have died over the last few years, has already been drawn, with many warning signs along trails and near waterfalls, with warnings in pamphlets, with warnings from rangers and naturalists.
Of course the line could be reinforced with chain-link fencing and barbed wire, but that would wall us off from the magic of the Yosemite experience. There is a limit to what the National Park Service can (and should) do to save us from ourselves.
Entry to Yosemite does not include issuance of brains and common sense, nor does it require checking foolish bravado and a sense of invincibility at the trail head.
Why have recent years seen a marked increase in the number of young people swept to tragic deaths over Yosemite's waterfalls? Perhaps it's because youngsters today spend so little time outdoors.
Kids today spend untold hours consumed by their computers and other electronics, leaving them with precious little time for experiencing the natural world. Their two-dimensional video-game heroes act with reckless abandon, leading to violent demises — whereupon they are magically resurrected, with no lasting harm done.
Out in the natural world, the combination of inexperience and derring-do often leads to death or serious injury — with no magical do-over. Kids can best learn that away from their computer screens.
I've visited Yosemite many times over the last 40 years, and every time I've been to Vernal Falls, I have seen caution signs. Just looking at the water should tell you it's dangerous, but in all my hikes, there have been people disregarding the signs.
We expect our government to protect us from ourselves and are no longer conditioned to take responsibility for our own actions. In suburbia there are cops to ticket us; in Yosemite there is no such pervasive law enforcement to rein in rule-breakers.
Decades ago, we took responsibility for ourselves. Sure, we rode in the backs of pickup trucks and on bikes without helmets. If we crashed, well, our fault for not taking precautions.
Now if we crash, we demand that the government pass a law to protect us from ourselves.
Letters: Smearing Snowden
Letters: Venice for Venice's cars
Letters: Open meetings law matters