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Yosemite National Park

Yosemite deaths illustrate a tragic but not uncommon risk in nature

Yosemite deaths illustrate a tragic but not uncommon risk in nature

What caused a tree limb to shear off and crush two sleeping campers in Yosemite on Friday has yet to be determined, but the children's deaths underscore the National Park Service's delicate and difficult mission: to manage a wild place. The park's foresters don't know if the black oak tree in the popular Upper Pines Campground was stressed by drought or disease or if the accident was a quirk of nature. Such sudden deadfall is not uncommon here, with 1,200 square miles of pest-ravaged pine trees. Friday's tragic accident in one of the nation's most revered national parks, however, is far from an anomaly: The park averages 12 to 15 fatalities a year....

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