How to not be THAT tourist when visiting National Parks

 

Every year more than 318 million people visit our National Parks (NPS). What many call our nation’s “best idea”, National Parks have been treasured by Americans for over a century. Some might say we’re even loving them to death. 

I have spent the last 10 years living and working in multiple National Parks including Olympic, Glacier, and, most recently, Yosemite. As both a resident of and tourist to the Park’s, I have a unique perspective of the intersection between natural and human communities that call these special places home. Both your experience and the impact you have on the National Park(s) you chose to visit will be greatly improved if you avoid these 5 classic missteps.

 

  1. Driving like a Tourist

The chance to see a wild animal, especially from the safety of our cars, is a thrilling experience. And sometimes the beauty of a place can cause you to forget you’re driving at all. However, the temptation of stopping in the middle of the road to take a picture, swerving into oncoming traffic while your gaze stays on the “wild” deer, driving so slowly that the ground squirrels can keep up with you is not only a bother to the locals but is actually dangerous. We know it’s beautiful. We know it’s exciting. Just please pull over.  

Picture: An example of “tourist driving” (Washington Post)

 

 

2. Dismal Bathroom Etiquette

This misstep is the main reason that you cannot drink straight from a mountain stream without fear of giardia. It’s not the animal poop that will make us gut wrenchingly sick, it’s our own human feces. So please, PLEASE, bury that poop! The vast majority of people either choose not to or are uninformed of this critical Leave No Trace protocol. Also, pack out your toilet paper if you choose to use it. “Paper lilies,” as they are sometimes referred to, not only pollute the environment but are a major eye sore while hiking. 

Picture: The dreaded paper lilies (Pacific Trail Crest Association) 

 

 

3. FOMO (fear of missing out)

A large draw of our country’s remaining open, undeveloped spaces is the silence. Many seek to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and connect with nature. If you are coming to the National Parks for “solitude” and “relaxation,” do not fall into the trap of FOMO. The hoards generally start hiking around 10:00 a.m. and all go to the same “can’t miss” trails. If you really want some solitude, start your hike either before 9:00 a.m. or after 4:00 p.m. and put in the effort to hike the longer trails.

Picture: Glacier’s famous Hidden Lake Overlook Trail at its worst (NPS)

 

 

4. Domesticating the Wildlife

Yes, they are cute– and their fur makes them seem so cuddly! But please, don’t be the person who feeds mountain goats skittles. Not only is human food unhealthy for wild animals, feeding wildlife can disrupt their natural foraging rhythms, causing them to starve in the winter months. Or worse, animals that become aggressive towards humans often have to be put down by Rangers. Resist the urge! Save a bear. 

 

Picture: The first director of the National Park Service, Steven Mather, feeding a bear in 1923 (PBS). We know better now. Read the “Night of the Grizzlies” if you still think feeding bears (or any other wildlife) is a good idea. 

 

 

5. Accidental Death

There is a 607 page book called “Death in Yosemite.” Do not make the book 608 pages! A major rising cause of accidental deaths in recent years is, you know it, the “selfie.” Though selfies appear innocent and safe, if you’re trying to get that –perfect– shot dangling over a 2,000 ft. waterfall luck may not always be on your side. The quest for extreme selfies killed 259 people between 2011 and 2017…don’t be the next selfie victim! (BBC)

Picture: Dumb Selfie (National Park Trips)

 

 

 

 

Author: Sara Edwards

Sources:

https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/annual-visitation-highlights.htm

https://www.bbc.com/news/newsbeat-45745982

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/if-youre-dumb-there-are-lots-of-good-ways-to-have-a-bad-time-at-a-national-park/2019/05/14/ec3eade0-7653-11e9-b3f5-5673edf2d127_story.html

https://www.pbs.org/nationalparks/media_detail/280/ Continue reading “How to not be THAT tourist when visiting National Parks”

First, a Daily Dose of Doggies

Some days feel like this:
Or this:

So take a moment to cheer up with these

and remember this:

____        ____        ____         ____

Whoever chose the performers at the 2020 halftime and decided what they did on stage was brilliant. Because the watchers who are silent–silent about what the show imitates of the horror being forced upon children and families in America–silent about the lack of human rights–silent about the memo that having a voice that is powerful enough together to create change–are being heard. People are showing the silent people that their lack of certain values is most definitely not welcome. Anger is–and should continue–being thrown at the silent because they outcry about exposed skin instead of about the inhumane treatment of people in America.

You can say that shouting on social media doesn’t make much of an impact. But it can be the start of an impact. Fan the flame of this shouted conversation that has been taking place since the beginning of injustice–the halftime show did. (Leo DiCaprio did it for the conversation on climate change when he won an Oscar. Emma Watson does it for gender equality). Many other people use their fame or events to fuel conversation and create change. Many more not famous people create a platform and change daily.

Anyone can see at a glance online whose values align (or don’t) with theirs. This creates a supportive network. Fueling the fire every now and then keeps this communication in place. And who knows what can be done with this network–what actions can spark, then–ignite.

Written by S. Ward for NPAD 460: Marketing and Social Media, Spring 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Reasons Why You Need to Ride in Montana

You know how everyone from Montana says “Montana’s the last, best place”? Well they also say “Montana’s the last best place to go horseback riding”.

Conway Tweetie glancing at wild flowers

Here are the reasons why you need to mark “a horse back ride in MT” off your bucket list.

1. The connection that you feel between the horse and the wild Montana landscape, it feels like it all becomes one.

2. You have the one in a million chance to feel the freshness of all four seasons in a single ride.

3. Sun- gaze at the big sky filled with blue and cotton ball clouds that are above you.

Montana Sunset

4. Riding in MT will increase your love for life while peeking over the breath taking scenery.

 

5. As the great Dixie Chicks would say the “Wide Open Spaces” makes MT irresistible.

Rio Warbar grazing fresh green grass

“Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life” -Dolly Parton

By Desiree Altmaier

The Hipster Test

Effortless

Are you a Hipster?

 

 

Take this short questionnaire:

  1. Do you wish your dad or mom saved their clothes from the 60s/70s so you could wear them?
  2. Do you only listen to obscure bands and artists on vinyl?
  3. Do you visit a coffee shop more than three times a day?
  4. Do you wear the same brand of shoes you wore in 1996?
  5. Do you have any facial hair?
  6. Do you not shave your legs, but kind of wish you did?
  7. Do you wear a beanie?
  8. Have you eaten cauliflower or toast in the past 24 hours?
  9. Do you alternate ordering beer, cider and  kombucha?
  10. Does your 4-year-old have a half-shaved, half long-hair hair style?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, proceed.

The Art of the Aging Hipster

Too hip? Or too hip to care?

CHOICES:

 

Vans on. Vans off.

 

Where to shop.

 

  • Keep it local.
  • Bring your dog.
  • Drink a smoothie at the same time.
  • Where your sunglasses inside.
  • Reintroduce yourself to people you’ve met several times before.
  • Shop only at stores containing a woman’s name
  • Talk about how you only thrift these days.

 

Are you woke? (quiz forthcoming)

 

Always look behind you. Always hold the door open for everyone even if you have to stand there for a very long time. And always remember:

 

 

Lesson: Pronouns

 

As part of your email signature add any/all of the following:

 

she/hers

 

he/his

 

ze/zer

 

Pop Culture.

 

When in doubt, use the words you said when you were in 7th grade. If they aren’t in the vernacular at this moment, they might be next week.

Activity.

Spot the difference!

Have a suggestion for a question, photo or want to nominate a Hipster of the Year? I’d love to hear from you.