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Yosemite rock risk forces some campsites to close down

Geologists say that Yosemite tourists are at risk of being hit by large, falling rocks.

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This has been the deadliest year yet for Yosemite National Park, with 14 deaths so far. (David McNew/AFP/Getty Images)

The National Park Service announced Thursday that many of its popular lodging areas are no longer safe for tourists. "There are no absolutely safe areas in Yosemite Valley," said Greg Stock, a Yosemite park geologist, told the Associated Press

The announcement comes after a new report authored by Stock found that many Yosemite campsites are too dangerous for tourists. While all national parks can be dangerous, the risk in Yosemite is particularly severe because of its unstable geology, the Los Angeles Times reported. As a result of Stock's study, 18 sites in historic Curry Village will be shut down permanently. Some spots below the El Capitan cliffs will also be closed.  

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In 2008, two major rock falls damaged the Curry Village, affecting about 12 tent cabins, Reuters reported. While there were no deaths or injuries, the Park Service had said that the falls caused "the most infrastructure damage of any rock fall in the history of the park," according to Reuters.

The 2008 incident triggered this more recent report, according to the AP. It is the first study to assess the risk of Yosemite's rocks to people. The news could hurt Yosemite's tourism, as a popular library and educational site are both in the danger zone.  

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120615/yosemite-rock-risk-forces-some-campsites-close-down