After a baby bison was euthanized following a father-son putting the animal in the back of their SUV, a lot of people are wondering if National Park policy should include euthanizing idiot tourists. Although those comments are a little harsh, it sure does make one wonder how these people got so stupid.
In fact, You_Got_Litt_Up asked Reddit users how tourists visiting national parks got so stupid. Almost immediately, a flood of stories entered into the forum to answer that very question. Here Are Some Choice Responses
Living Off The Land
When I worked in Idaho’s River of No Return Wilderness, we’d regularly encounter people who had watched too much Discovery Channel and decided to abandon civilization and “live off the land.”
Which isn’t at all impossible–a decent fly fisherman or a halfway good shot can easily shoot or catch-all the fish and game they care to eat. In fact, the vast majority of our visitors were there to shoot elk or catch trout, and they did well.
But these survivalist types never came prepared with a rod or a gun or even a tent. No. They were going to build a thatch shelter and whittle a spear and go stab an elk, or something.
Of course, if anyone had ever succeeded in this, it would be illegal on a number of levels. (can’t camp for more than 14 days in a site, can’t stab an elk without a hunting license, &c). But it never came up–after a couple days, they’d get bored and cold and hungry and walk back out the way they’d come in.
Bear Spray Cologne
So this is my favorite tourist story and I hope I’m not too late to tell it.
I was in a national park at the visitor’s center. Suddenly, there’s this huge commotion and a lot of screaming from the lobby.
I head over to find an entire tourist family crying and screaming and the park staff trying their best to manage the situation. Then the air shifts and it hits me.
They had applied a liberal amount of BEAR SPRAY all over themselves and the entire lobby. Apparently, they had mistaken the wording of “bear repellent” and had assumed it was to be used like mosquito repellent.
Bear Cub FOMO
There was a story in the paper asking rangers about their bear stories: a german couple ask the ranger where they can see bears. The ranger explains all of the dangers and then tells them what area to go to. When they return they excitedly show the ranger pictures of them holding a bear cub. How they are not dead is a mystery.
Gators Don’t Make Good Pets
Not a park ranger, but in Shark Valley at the Everglades National Park, every now and then some idiots will try to steal baby gators.
This is utterly stupid, not only for the fact that they grow up to be full size gators, but because when the little gators feel threatened, they cry, which attracts all the adult mama gators in the area. Which ends up being a huge problem since its literally in the middle of the Everglades and swarming with gators.
Death From Above
Earlier this week I was on a geological fossil tour with Ranger Ron at the Grand Caynon National Park. The talk started at the Bright Angel Trail is a hiking trail located at the top of the canyon 4380 ft above the Colorodo River and has hundreds of people walking or riding on mule to the camp below. Now this is not leasure hike, often you have only a few feet of path between you and pending death and 100% of the people on this trail are either on their way up or on their way down from the day before as it is impossible to make it up and back in the same day. Anyways, a testosterone filled hooligan felt like he would see how strong he was at the top of the trail. He picked up a rock the size of his head and dropped it on the hundreds of hikers and mule riders below. You you see every hiker see there impending death as this rock bounced of the canyon wall. Eventually about 1000′ below it landed 2′ from a hiker who likely is thanking the gods right now. Ranger Ron saw this and started yelling at this person like it he was the voice of God from a couple hundred feet away- needless to say this coward did not stay around to find out what would Ranger Ron caught up to him on the Canyon Rim. I have never seen a ranger that angry in my entire life and hope to never see something like that again.
During a whale watch on a boat in a marine sanctuary I had a guy ask me what the elevation was. Then I had a woman ask me how we get the whales in the lake, she thought it was a lake cause when she drove around the island the water was always on the right side. So many more. People get stupid on vacation.