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387 Yellowstone Tourists 2011-05-05

crowds watching old faithful

NPS photo, Jim Peaco

Last week, the rangers in Yellowstone National Park were told of a group of people walking on the Old Faithful Geyser's cone. The popular geyser has a distinct viewing area. The area is a safe distance away from the geyser. The trespassers were reported to the rangers by someone in Wisconsin watching Old Faithful's webcam! Responding to the call, the rangers found a tour group that had crossed the viewing area and trespassed onto the geyser's cone. After moving the group to a public area, the rangers listened to their pleas. It seemed as if the group tried to use the famous "tourist's defense" with the rangers - simply put, they didn't know it was wrong, so it must have been okay.

I don't think the rangers agreed. The group leader, bus driver, and one other group member were ticketed.

The problem was that the group did not know how to enjoy the Park. They believed the signage and rules pertained to others; but not to them. It was okay for their group to break the rules, they were tourists.

(Billings Gazette)

So here a few tips on how not to be a tourist in a Park ...

Study an area before visiting it. Learn the rules and norms.

Respect the rules.

A visitor to your house is polite and quick to pick up on house rules. The same respect is due the to the Parks.

Learning the rules empowers the user.

Practice Leave No Trace principles.

Obey all signs. If for some reason you think that you should be an exception to the rule, consult with the land managers first.

Visitors are not invasive.

Visitors share in the experience. They leave their vehicles and feel the wild-ness of the Park.

Visitors add to the Park. Others are enriched by the visitors presence.

They respect the land, wildlife, other users, and the land mangers' staff.

They never wear a beanie cap that has big ears (Mickey Mouse). Ha!

Enjoy the Parks; but visit in such a way that you will always be invited back!


Happy visitors trails


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