Tourists With Selfie Sticks Are Ruining America’s National Parks (Opinion)
This weekend, I had the privilege of visiting Rocky Mountain National Park for the first time. It's the seventh National Park I've been to and it was awe inspriring. Sadly, there is something else about our National Parks that never ceases to amaze me; tourists who get dangerously close to wildlife.
Last year, I saw a brown bear on the side of the road at Teton National Park. It was up on a hill about 500 feet from the road. Sure enough, there were several tourists who just had to get that perfect picture. As they slowly walked closer to the bear, I found myself rooting for the bear to charge them. Don't get me wrong, I didn't want to see the bear eat them. However, watching them run for their lives would have been very entertaining. Luckily for their sake, the bear eventually retreated up into the woods.
Hours later, while traveling through Yellowstone National Park, I saw a teenage girl literally walk within 20 feet of a buffalo. Again, I was hoping that the buffalo would at least grunt at her, so I could watch her scream like she was at a One Direction concert.
This weekend, there was a group of elk grazing on a grassy knoll in Rocky Mountain National Park. One tourist, with a selfie stick, got so close to a massive five point bull that I thought for sure the giant beast was going to charge. Instead the elk ran away. If only the elk would have moved towards the idiot, perhaps that selfie could have captured the precise moment when the terrified tourist soiled their pants.
I'll never forget the moment when I learned to respect wildlife. Years ago, I was walking through Yosemite National Park when I almost stepped on a snake. To this day, I still can't figure out if it was red and black (friend of Jack) or red and yellow (kill a fellow), but I've never jumped so high in my life. Sadly, the snake slithered away before I was able to get the perfect selfie.