What do we REALLY have to fear?


I honestly can’t remember which of the visually frenetic, excessively dramatic newscasts I was scanning last week, but the “lock your doors/bar your windows” topic for the day was about ravenous black bears coming out of hibernation and into YOUR BACK YARD. As I cringed at the random footage of a bear raiding a trash can and the “unconfirmed reports” of increased sightings across the state, I got to thinking of other situations where the outdoors gets undeserved bad rap. The media loves to report about lost hikers, animal attacks, and cycling accidents but we all know these situations are the rare exception and not the everyday rule the evening news would have you believe.

Inspired by the black bear report, I asked our crack research department to do a little digging on “dangerous” animals versus other risks to our health and well being. Here’s what they came up with:

Climbing Gear from EMS.com to protect you against the deadly indoors

Rough translated, for every fatal black bear attack that occurs in the US, there are 951,999 more people who die of a heart-related condition – most of which can be prevented by proper diet and adequate exercise. And for my money, there’s no better or more enjoyable way to get that exercise than a trail run, mountain bike ride or hike.

“AH, but there’s a one in a million chance you could DIE from being bitten by a venomous spider in YOUR favorite state park,” says the heavily made-up news anchor with the penetrating gaze into Camera 1.

Duly noted.

See you all on the trail.

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Jim Darroch

Jim's love for the outdoors began with family camping trips in "Brady Bunch" style canvas tents and progressed to backpacking adventures with the Boy Scouts. In 2007, he fulfilled his teenage dream by joining Eastern Mountain Sports as Brand Communications Manager. When he's not in the office, you'll find Jim kayaking, hiking, and mountain biking around the Monadnock Region and throughout New England with his wife Brenda and his dog Brewski.


  1. May 16, 2011, 5:25 pm

    So ironic….Choosing to not hike out of fear of danger is like inviting guaranteed danger from inactivity. That being said, I still have trouble falling asleep when I hear bears walking around my tent.

  2. May 7, 2011, 9:46 am

    This is a great post. It seems that more people are afraid of critters than the bad food they ingest. It seems understandable since burger, fries, chicken wings and the like don’t cause pain and look menacing like spider, bears and other predators. I like how we can invade an animals habit then wonder why they attack. Thanks again for sharing.

  3. Lara Skinner
    May 6, 2011, 3:44 pm

    @Devin: remember, sharks just want to taste you. You likely are too crunchy on the inside to be considered a whole treat.

  4. May 6, 2011, 2:58 pm

    Sharks and polar bears scare me.

  5. May 6, 2011, 2:35 pm

    I love this. I’m imagining the banner being read by the guy that does action movie trailer narrations, and that makes it so much better.

    And just after reading this, I got my Backpacker Magazine in the mail, with a cover story that says: “Survival Section: When Bears Attack.” Come on, Backpacker. Seriously?

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