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Parkgoer shares photo of other visitors ignoring warning signs at national park: 'This is incredibly terrible'

"I spoke to some of the park rangers about this."

"I spoke to some of the park rangers about this."

Photo Credit: iStock

In a Reddit post in the subreddit r/mildlyinfuriating, one user posted an image at Arches National Park in Utah of tourists ignoring signs to stay on trail.

"Stay on trails. Your steps matter. Protect park soils," the sign reads in front of six individuals stepping off the trail among the bushes at the national park.

"I spoke to some of the park rangers about this."
Photo Credit: Reddit

At Arches National Park, the ground is known as biological soil crust, which is a living ecosystem of lichen, mosses, algae, fungi, and bacteria that can help prevent erosion, hold and retain water, and protect plant life. Unfortunately, a single footprint can kill the soil, with the process to regrow and strengthen taking 50 years.

National parks, like Arches, are vital in protecting healthy ecosystems by maintaining landscapes that cleanse air and water, protect wildlife, and provide the public with safe and affordable ways to enjoy nature. Staying on trails is critical to preserve these natural landscapes and protect nature. The seven principles of Leave No Trace are a great start for limiting our impact when visiting the outdoors.

However, many parkgoers have caught others ignoring signs and rules that could put themselves, other tourists, and wildlife in danger. At Yellowstone National Park, tourists have been seen intimidating bison and walking off trail towards dangerous thermal areas.

Walking off trail can put you in danger of injury or death by getting too close to animals or dangerous zones. But it can also harm animals by destroying their habitats and source of food or putting them at risk of being put down. Not to mention that it can take 30 years for an ecosystem to recover after walking off trail.

Users in the thread were upset that people don't understand why staying on the trail is vital.

"I spoke to some of the park rangers about this," one user commented about Arches National Park. "The soil 'life' is pretty destroyed in most of the popular spots. Awareness of the soil and its importance needs to be raised. People just don't [realize] what they're doing when they go off the path."

Another person wrote: "This is incredibly terrible. The soil is alive and delicate. It needs our protection."

"Sticking to the trail is both for your safety and for the health of the ecosystem around it!" another user commented.

Others brainstormed ways to get the message across more effectively.

"They should just have a sign warning of venomous snakes if you stray from the path," one user suggested.

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