One of the most iconic and recognizable areas in the world has again been met with tragedy. Over the weekend, a Phoenix man lost his life when he fell into the canyon below, plummeting nearly 800 feet to the shore of the Colorado River. According to the Coconino County Sheriff's Office at approximately 3:30 pm, Zachary Wallace fell off the edge of the Horseshoe Bend overlook while his brother helplessly watched.
Sheriff's Deputies and Rangers with the National Park Service have confirmed that Mr. Wallace had fallen accidentally, and that no foul play is suspected to have taken place. A DPS Helicopter had to retrieve the body of Mr. Wallace, who was then transported to the Coconino County Medical Examiners office in Flagstaff, Arizona.
This is not the first incident this year of someone falling to their deaths at this overlook. Just last month a body was found at the base of the cliffs, and possibly identified as a missing person from Buckeye Arizona.
Recently the City of Page, along with the National Park Service, began construction on a new pathway to the overlook, creating shade structures and an easier access to the overlook itself. Along with this new trail, small barrier walls have been erected in an attempt to lower the number of accidents like these.
Unfortunately, these two incidents are far from the only things that have happened at Horseshoe Bend in the recent past. Due to the lack of deceleration or acceleration lanes to the parking lot for Horseshoe Bend, or a lack of any kind of proper turn in or out, there have been many accidents here over the years. Just a few weeks ago, LPNN covered an accident at that very intersection.
Here is our coverage of that accident, the actual accident can be seen later in the coverage.
With more than 1 million visitors every year to this area, the parking lot and entrances have been in desperate need of improvements. The City of Page has created a plan to improve the parking area and trail to the actual overlook, and eventual improvements for access from Highway 89, the two lane highway that passes in front of Horseshoe Bend.
Recently Councilman Levi Tappan had an interview with azfamily.com and touched on the subject to try and raise more awareness of the situation with a broader audience in Arizona. You can read that interview HERE.
With tourism reaching all new highs in the Page Lake Powell area, including Horseshoe Bend, there have been an increasing number of problems arising from the sheer volume of people traveling in and out of the once worker's camp for the Glen Canyon Dam, to the now hot tourist destination from people all across the globe.