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Great Smoky Mountains home to most rescues in the Southeast

Rangers and fire crews rescued six people stranded while tubing on the Little River in Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2013.
Rangers and fire crews rescued six people stranded while tubing on the Little River in Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2013. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

With more than 100 rescues last year, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park ranks first among national parks in the Southeast for the most emergency responses in 2014, according to data from the Salt Lake Tribune.

Only three national parks in the U.S. had more rescues: Grand Canyon National Park (324), Lake Mead National Recreation Area (217) and Yosemite National Park (181).

What keeps the Smokies rescue team so busy? Mostly the sheer volume of visitors, rangers say. More than 10 million people per year trek through the national park, says the Asheville Citizen-Times.

Lower leg injuries account for the most common incident requiring a rescue, Steve Kloster, acting chief ranger and search and rescue coordinator for Great Smoky Mountains National Park, told the Citizen-Times.

Other types of rescues include swift water responses in the park’s rivers, or helicopter extractions of hikers who weren’t prepared for the elements, the Citizen-Times reports.

Four Carolinas’ national parks reported rescues in 2014

104 rescues in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

20 rescues on the Blue Ridge Parkway

15 rescues in Congaree National Park

9 rescues in the Cape Lookout National SeashoreSource: Salt Lake Tribune

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Twitter: @andrew_dunn

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