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Have you ever made a decision and then instantly regretted it? Every now and then, these moments are caught on tape and go viral.
We recently saw a video of a tourist learning this valuable lesson while visiting one of the premier national parks. If you want to avoid a serious situation, we suggest you avoid making the same mistake.
Today, we’ll look at this scene and how you can stay safe while visiting national parks in the future. Let’s dive in!
Tourist Instantly Regrets Touching Bison
While scrolling through Facebook, we recently discovered a shocking video from Yellowstone National Park. In the video, a tourist wanted a picture of her with a buffalo grazing along one of the many boardwalks. However, she instantly regretted her decision the second her hand touched its fur.
The bison showed its disapproval by lowering its head and attempting to shove the woman out of the way. Luckily, the bison’s massive horns didn’t dig into the side of the woman. The only thing the bison appeared to damage was the woman’s ego.
However, while touching the beast was a terrible idea, that wasn’t the tourist’s only mistake. How she responded could have caused the situation to go from bad to worse.
Makes Second Mistake Leaving Path
Park rangers and signs around Yellowstone constantly remind you to stay on the boardwalks. Staying on the paths is a way of protecting the natural environment and visitors to the park.
You may not realize that in some spots, the ground appears solid but is actually hot mud. You could end up knee-deep in boiling mud if you step off a boardwalk.
The woman sprints off the boardwalk to escape the charging bison and into a grassy area. Again, the woman had luck on her side, and the ground wasn’t one of these areas.
Had it been, she would have likely experienced severe burns within seconds.
About Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is one of the most famous national parks in the United States. It has 2.2 million acres in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.
Visitors can enjoy incredible geothermal features, gorgeous lakes, and stunning waterfalls. Our tourist friend also demonstrated that it’s also full of wildlife.
One of the most popular tourist attractions in the park is the famous Old Faithful geyser. It earns its nickname because it shoots a large cloud of hot water and steam almost every 90 minutes. Rangers use decades of data to predict eruptions within a matter of minutes.
Native American tribes from the Shoshone, Crow, and Blackfeet find the park and the surrounding area sacred. They’ve inhabited the lands for thousands of years. However, word started to spread regarding this magical place when John Colter visited it in the early 19th century.
While Colter explored the area in 1808, it didn’t become a national park until 1872. Until this point, there were no national parks anywhere in the world.
The newly formed National Park Service that managed the land would set a precedent for future park infrastructures worldwide.
Tips to Stay Safe While Visiting Yellowstone National Park
If you have Yellowstone National Park on your travel bucket list, we have a few things you need to know to stay safe. Let’s take a look!
Stay on Paths
As mentioned, you must stay on the paths, including boardwalks, while visiting Yellowstone. Failing to do so could cause severe injuries and potentially even death. The ground may be soft, and your weight could result in you falling through.
Unfortunately, the groundwater on the other side of the thin surface could reach upward of 250 degrees. This is enough to burn through rubber shoes and instantly cause third-degree burns.
In 2021, a park official told CNN more than 20 people have died due to these types of situations from geothermal pools. Visitors caught leaving the paths receive fines, jail time, and a ban from the park.
Pro Tip: Thinking of bringing your RV to Yellowstone? Take a look at these tips to planning an RV trip to Yellowstone!
Keep Your Distance from Wildlife
National parks aren’t zoos. The wildlife you see roaming about aren’t pets. Additionally, there’s typically nothing between you and them. You must keep your distance from wildlife at all times.
You must stay 25 yards from all animals, including bison, elk, and moose. With wolves and bears, you should keep at least 100 yards back.
Again, these are wild animals that can be very dangerous. If you want a closer look, use binoculars or invest in telephoto lenses. These tools can help you capture pictures and get a better view without harming yourself or the animals.
Practice Bear Safety
Yellowstone is home to brown and black bears. If you spend time in this area, you must always practice bear safety.
A few examples of bear safety include carrying bear spray, making plenty of noise, and hiking in groups. However, you must also look for signs of bear activity and store your food correctly.
If you encounter a bear, you must know how to respond. This means avoiding sudden movements and loud noises that could startle it. You need to stay calm and back away from the situation slowly.
Fight the urge to run, which may trigger a response from the animal. Considering bears can run upward of 40 miles per hour, you won’t stand a chance.
Respect Thermal Features
Yellowstone National Park is home to a tremendous amount of geothermal features. You’ll find geysers, hot springs, and mud pots that can cause severe damage.
You should always follow the instructions on signs and stay behind barriers. If you see a barrier, it’s there for a reason.
It’s also a good idea to keep children and pets as close as possible at all times. There have been guests injured due to accidentally tripping. A fall into a thermal pool almost always results in a trip to a nearby hospital’s burn unit or death.
Keep in Mind: Before you make a camping reservation in Yellowstone, make sure to read these top tips to scoring a reservation in Yellowstone!
Stay Aware of the Weather
Much like the rest of Yellowstone, Mother Nature can be intense throughout the park. You must check the weather forecast before your trip.
This can help you to know how to plan and what to pack. Due to the park’s location and higher elevation, winters can be pretty intense. So dress accordingly.
Mother Nature can result in closures throughout the park. As a result, stay connected with the park for special alerts and closures. However, you may not have cell service in certain areas.
If you see a ranger or visitor station, check in with them if you have any concerns regarding the weather.
As the Boy Scouts have said, “Always be prepared.” If you’re not, Yellowstone can be a scary place. Take time to research and plan for any potential dangers or hazards.
It’s also essential to ensure you have plenty of food and water for everyone in your group. You need to research to know how to prepare.
Look But Don’t Touch Wildlife in Yellowstone
Whether visiting Yellowstone or any other national park, embracing a “look but don’t touch” policy is wise. It can save you from ending up in a dangerous or even deadly situation.
If you see others getting too close, warn them and report the behavior to officials. They take these encounters very seriously and will often punish offenders. So do your part and keep your distance at all times.
Have you ever had a close call with wildlife?