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Photo of wandering tourists at national park sparks outrage online: ‘This is why we can’t have nice things’

“Don’t get me started…”

Disturbed lands through revegetation

Photo Credit: iStock

“This is why we can’t have nice things,” wrote a disgruntled Redditor who shared a photo taken at Maroon Bells Scenic Area in Colorado. The picture showed visitors outside of the designated area disregarding a sign stating that the area was “closed for revegetation.”

revegetation
Photo Credit: Reddit
selfish tourists
Photo Credit: Reddit

Tourists and visitors ignoring park rules and signage continue to spark headlines nationwide, from dangerous stunts and tormenting wildlife to vandalizing protected areas and other bad behaviors. While some of these interactions may seem harmless, they can have dire consequences for the parks and other visitors.

Revegetation is the practice of replanting and rebuilding native plants and the soil quality of disturbed lands. The process is essential for rehabilitating damaged land, restoring important plants and animals, increasing biodiversity, and protecting the water quality, among other benefits.

The National Park Service takes extensive care of the land by meticulously protecting the fragile ecosystems that exist in these treasured areas. Newly revegetated areas are delicate as the seeds and sprouts re-establish themselves.

Unfortunately, understaffed and underfunded park rangers cannot be around to supervise every visitor and enforce signage and notices throughout the thousands of acres of parklands in the United States. While more people visiting parks might be considered a good thing, the lack of outdoor etiquette is astonishing and disappointing to longtime parkgoers. 

“There are a bunch of volunteers who are painstakingly re-establishing native plants in the trampled off-trail/path areas – thousands of manhours of work to restore and make the park what it once was and should be today,” one commenter pointed out.

“The examples of things like this are absolutely endless these days,” another lamented. “Seems like nearly every time I go out hiking now I encounter a group of d******* like these who are totally oblivious to their actions, the environment, and other people around them.”

While some commenters recounted similar experiences, others shared their advice and strategies for handling these encounters.

For non-confrontational visitors witnessing others breaking park rules, one commenter suggested saying “something to the effect of ‘not sure you saw the sign, but…’ That allows them to, theoretically, go ‘oh my bad’ even if it’s BS.” 

This tactic attempts to save face but may not be effective. Others expressed no hesitation in shaming and yelling at offending tourists. 

“Don’t get me started,” an angry Redditor shared. “I will verbally rebuke people or groups doing this.”

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