A 70-year-old Missouri man shot himself in the leg with a handgun on Sunday at Emerald Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), according to RMNP public affairs officer Kyle Patterson.
The man reportedly had a loaded handgun in his backpack when he set the backpack down and the gun went off.
The bullet entered but did not leave his leg.
It is legal to have a gun in Rocky Mountain National Park if you have the proper permit.
Emerald Lake is reached via the Emerald Lake Trail – a moderate rated 3.5-mile trail near Estes Park, CO.
The Emerald Lake Trail is one of the most popular hikes in RMNP.
Rocky Mountian National Park Press Release:
News Release Date: July 28, 2020
Contact: Kyle Patterson, Public Affairs Officer, 970-586-1363
Contact: Park Information, 970-586-1206
On Sunday afternoon, July 19, park rangers responded to a report of a 70-year-old male, from Missouri, with a gunshot wound at Emerald Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. Bystanders assisted the man with initial first aid. Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue team members responded and provided advanced medical care. The man was carried out via a wheeled litter to the Bear Lake Trailhead where he was taken by Estes Health Ambulance to a meadow in the Glacier Basin Campground where he was flown by Lifeguard Two Air Ambulance to Medical Center of the Rockies.
Park rangers investigated the incident. The man was hiking in the area with a handgun in his backpack. When he set the backpack on the rock, the gun discharged firing a round. The round struck the man in his leg. The round did not exit the man’s body. There were numerous visitors in the Emerald Lake area when this incident occurred.
It is the responsibility of visitors to understand and comply with all applicable state, local, and federal firearm laws before entering the park. Open carry of handguns and rifles, and transport of the same in vehicles, is permitted. Concealed carry is allowed pursuant to a legal Colorado concealed carry permit and applicable state reciprocity laws. Federal law prohibits firearms in certain facilities (visitor centers, ranger stations, government offices); places that are marked with signs at all public entrances. Recreational target shooting or discharge of a firearm is not allowed in Rocky Mountain National Park. Firearms should not be considered a wildlife protection strategy. Bear spray and other safety precautions are the proven methods for preventing bear and other wildlife interactions.
The investigation is ongoing, no further information is available at this time.