There is an inherent danger in the canyoneering environment. Even the relaxed family-friendly canyons that are packed every day of the week during the spring and summer seasons.  Unfortunately, nature gives us harsh reminders of the danger of the activity, and Monday, May 11th, 2020, was one of the harshest reminders we could receive.

Little Wild Horse Canyon is one of the most popular canyons for tourists, weekend vacationers, and local escapees, looking for a fast hike with lots of beauty and excitement.  Last Monday, after a thunderstorm crossed near Goblin Valley State Park, a flash flood swept through Little Wild Horse Canyon.  More than 21 people made it out safely, and two young girls ages seven and three did not. The father of the young girls found the body of the seven-year-old before search and rescue crews arrived.  The three-year-old was still missing.

According to the Emery County Sheriff’s Office, three helicopters, multiple search and rescue teams involving more than 67 personnel searched for the missing child.  An article of clothing belonging to the three-year-old was found 7 miles away from the search and rescue staging area.  The child’s body was found by search crews Tuesday, 28 miles downstream from where she was seen last.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert gave his condolences to the family in a statement.

Utah mourns with the family and prays that they may be comforted in this heartbreaking time.”

Gary Herbert

Governor, State of Utah

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The ease of access, popularity, and simplicity of canyons such as Little Wild Horse, often come with a false sense of security, one that everyone who has done Little Wild Horse Canyon has fallen for.  In 2015 another flash flood in Utah’s Zion National Park killed seven adults in Keyhole Canyon. I hope they find peace knowing that it could happen to anyone. Words cannot explain the pain that the family can be feeling. Our prayers are with the family.

There has been a Go Fund Me account set up to support the family.

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