Yosemite National Park: Body of Missing Professor Hiking Alone Located, Authorities Seeking Witnesses

by Madison Miller

The national parks of the U.S. have claimed yet another life. This time it was at the popular Yosemite National Park.

The gorgeous natural land found in the 423 national park sites continues to draw in millions of eager explorers each year. However, with beauty comes danger as well. Countless people die from tragic accidents, such as falling off cliffs, or from attacks by the wildlife that call the parks home.

Others go missing without much of a reason as to what happened at all. All that wide-open and uninhabited land have its risks.

Professor Killed at Yosemite National Park

On June 25, the body of a beloved longtime Northern California professor was found in Yosemite National Park.

According to USA Today, James Youngblom was out hiking all alone when his body turned up. Now, park officials are asking anyone that was in the area that might have seen him, to call investigators. The 64-year-old’s cause of death is currently unknown. There has not been an autopsy yet and the investigation is ongoing as authorities hope for more information.

Youngblom was an avid outdoorsman that loved backpacking. In fact, he went on one solo backpacking trip each year. He was a professor and the chair of the department of biological sciences at California State University Stanislaus. This was going to be his last school year, as Youngblom was retiring in the fall.

For those who were in the White Wolf, Pate Valley, or the Grand Canyon of The Tuolumne in Yosemite National Park from June 22 to June 25, contact the National Park Service Investigative Services Branch.

Grand Canyon Investigation

Meanwhile, there’s another investigation underway regarding an Illinois man’s death in Grand Canyon National Park.

According to ABC 4, rangers were notified that CPR was being performed on a man near the South Kaibab Trailhead. Nearby hikers were performing CPR on 60-year-old William Smith from Oswego, Illinois. Unfortunately, all attempts at resuscitating Smith were unsuccessful and he died at the scene.

Now, his death is under investigation and the park rangers are urging people to postpone particularly difficult hikes in the midst of several ongoing investigations. This is the second death at the Grand Canyon National Park in one week. The other was Michelle Meder, a 53-year-old from Ohio. Her death is possibly due to the heat, authorities suspect.

Some park rangers believe that it could be the desert heat causing people to die in certain national parks. Not everyone is used to that type of dry and hot weather.

There is currently an ongoing and deadly heatwave in the Pacific Northwest as well. This kind of extreme temperature could sneak up on even experienced hikers. According to WGN-TV, there are at least 95 people who have passed away in Oregon alone due to the heatwave. Washington state is reporting on about 30 deaths from the heat.