Friday, January 02, 2009

2008 suicide numbers up in National Parks

It happens every year ... people go to national parks to end their lives. During 2008, those numbers were up, according to news reports.

Case in point:
Freshly unemployed, former business executive Bruce J. Colburn flew to the far northwest corner of Montana in search of a place to die.

In early October, he paid a hotel clerk to drive him into Glacier National Park. He spent the night in a campground and then made his way on foot to a valley between two deep glacial lakes. On a forested slope not far from the trail, he shot himself in the chest with a handgun, according to park officials.
A 46-year-old carpenter with cancer climbed into a canoe and vanished in Everglades National Park.

A 49-year-old builder blamed the economy in a note he left for his ex-wife and attorney before killing himself at the edge of the woods at Georgia's Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park.

A 65-year-old university biology professor disappeared into Utah's Canyonlands National Park, telling relatives in a note he was returning "body and soul to nature."

A 70-year-old woman left a suicide note in the trunk of her car at Arizona's Saguaro National Park before killing herself about a half-mile from a trailhead.

Three people, in separate cases, jumped off a towering bridge at West Virginia's New River Gorge National River.
Closer to home, there have been suicides on the Blue Ridge Parkway over the years, most notably in the area around Afton Mountain.

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