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Jerry Brown: There's clear danger at Yosemite National Park

California Gov. Jerry Brown said the rivers were clearly treacherous when he and his wife visited Yosemite National Park last month, which happened to be the same week three hikers were swept over Vernal Falls.

August 4, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
California Gov. Jerry Brown said there's clear danger at Yosemite National Park.

Fourteen people have died there so far this year - that's a modern record.

The governor just happened to visit Yosemite with his wife recently on the same day that three hikers were swept over Vernal Falls.

In a new Associated Press interview, Brown said it's clear the water in the park is treacherous, but he stopped short of saying additional safety measures or warning signs are needed.

"They have a sign there that says if you get into the water you will die. That's pretty clear to me," he said. "I read the sign. But I didn't need to read the sign."

Family members of the three hikers said the safety barrier on the trail above Vernal Falls was insufficient. The hikers climbed over the metal fence, ignored warning signs and waded into the Merced River before being swept over the 317-foot waterfall.

Park officials have no plans to add more warning signs, saying the Merced River runs for 81 miles through Yosemite and it would be impossible to warn of every danger.

The latest fatality was a woman who fell to her death over the weekend while descending Half Dome in the rain.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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