Project goal: Limit preventable accidents and help visitors enjoy the park safely through data-driven educational efforts.

Why this work matters: Many of the approximately 250 accidents, injuries and other incidents that require emergency responses in Yosemite each year are preventable. The park’s Preventive Search and Rescue (PSAR) initiative launched in 2007 to reduce the number of avoidable incidents through three primary methods: education, landscape design that discourages risky behaviors, and temporary or long-term trail closures.

This project focuses on the first pillar of the PSAR program: education. With support from our donors, the PSAR program’s educational efforts have grown and formalized in recent years. In 2020, PSAR rangers and Conservancy staff stationed along popular trails are educating hikers in person. The PSAR team shares key information to help people stay safe, stressing the importance of respecting guidelines, closures and railings; the value of carrying essential items, such as food, water, warm layers and headlamps, even on short hikes; and more. During the ongoing pandemic, they’re reminding hikers about one-way restrictions on the popular Mist Trail during busy hours (9 am to 4 pm) to promote social distancing. They’re also taking advantage of Yosemite’s influential digital presence to share safety tips with the park’s online audience.

Ultimately, the PSAR team aims to provide people with information they need to stay safe, make sound decisions and enjoy their experience in the park.

How your support helps: Your gifts will fund the PSAR team’s education and outreach efforts during Yosemite’s busiest months. As part of the team’s 2020 efforts, Yosemite rangers and Conservancy staff are managing information stations at the Mist Trail-John Muir Trail junction, catching people before they head to slippery steps, and in Little Yosemite Valley, where they’ll talk to hikers making their way to Half Dome.

Your support will also help the team create and install hazard-specific signs along trails, and produce digital content, including website updates, social media posts and videos, to spread safety messages to people around the globe.

Partnering with Yosemite National Park, Yosemite Hospitality, and Friends of Yosemite Search and Rescue.

Jack Hoeflich

Emergency Services Manager, Yosemite National Park

Project Notes

"Preventive Search and Rescue (PSAR) is a park-wide initiative to increase safety awareness and thereby decrease the incidence of injuries and accidental fatalities in Yosemite National Park. The PSAR program uses a data-driven, evidence-based approach to identify and implement education, enforcement and engineering strategies to reduce the number of Search and Rescue incidents."