• Outdoors Outdoors

Spectator shares frustrating photo of visitor ignoring national park warnings: 'Too many people not following rules'

In this case, one wrong step could have spelled the end.

In this case, one wrong step could have spelled the end.

Photo Credit: iStock

A visitor to Yellowstone National Park was angered to see tourists deliberately walking off trail in protected areas by Grand Prismatic Springs. They posted a photo of the offenders, who were holding up their phones to snap some photos, in the subreddit r/Yellowstone.

"I hope these garbage tourists, who walked off trail to the edge of Grand Prismatic last Friday, were caught," they wrote.

In this case, one wrong step could have spelled the end.
Photo Credit: Reddit

Fellow commenters were similarly disgusted. "Was there last year for the summer and saw a child whose parents were not paying attention stick their hand in the water," one wrote. "We didn't stay long because of honestly how many dumb people were there. Throwing garbage, touching the water, just generally being rude."

Unfortunately, wherever natural beauty can be found, so too can tourons — the name being a combination of tourist and moron. Yellowstone is particularly prone to tourons — so much so that an Instagram account, Tourons of Yellowstone (@TouronsofYellowstone) has amassed nearly half a million followers.

"Shame," another person commented. "I was at Old Faithful … and a family of four walked over and stood on the hill … instead of the observation area. Literally walked by a 'danger thermal area' sign to climb the hill and stood there for about 15 minutes."

Another wrote: "It's too many people not following rules, for the good of the park."

In this case, one wrong step could have spelled the end. With the average water temperatures in Yellowstone close to boiling, and the mineral levels enough to dissolve a body, these visitors were literally risking their lives for a photo.

This type of behavior endangers themselves, but it also disrupts the enjoyment of rule-abiding parkgoers. Tourists have been caught vandalizing and intentionally destroying natural features, badgering wildlife, driving off-road, walking off-trail, littering, and more.

Not only is this behavior obnoxious, but it harms the very natural attractions that the tourists paid to visit. Going off-trail has long-term negative impacts on biodiversity and plant health, and it also costs national parks millions every year in restoration.

Fortunately, many places are fighting back. Some national parks in the U.S. are starting to ban certain offenders, though it's still relatively uncommon. And some places, like Carnarvon National Park in Australia, are issuing fines for veering off-trail.

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