National parks are renowned for their beauty and expansive wildlife. Some visitors, however, either don’t understand or don’t care how important and sacred this beauty is.
An Instagram account called Tourons of Yellowstone (@touronsofyellowstone) is dedicated to exposing these disrespectful tourists. The account is named after the term “touron” which was invented by the National Park Service as a combination of the words, “tourist” and “moron.”
A photo recently posted on the account is yet another example of tourons not understanding the basics of the “Leave no trace” park etiquette — founded on the principles of leaving an area looking as if you had never been there to ensure as little disturbance to wildlife as possible. As visitation increases, the hope is that this respect will become even more widely practiced.
The photo, originally shared by Kelsey Wellington (@kels_wellington), shows graffiti carved into the Black Sand Basin — a well known spot in Yellowstone.
The National Park Service describes the Black Sand Basin as “[one] of the most splendid hot springs in Yellowstone.” The park service specifically cautions visitors to stick only to boardwalks and trails, not to behave irresponsibly by pushing and running, and not to scratch the hydrothermal mats — hydrothermal water can cause severe burns. This graffiti is not only disrespectful, but also dangerous.
The National Park service even states on their website that any form of graffiti is considered vandalism, regardless of how small or insignificant it may seem. This is punishable as a class B misdemeanor and comes with a fine of up to $5,000 and six months in jail.
Natural Parks are essential to education and the conservation of wildlife, and etching graffiti into the basin is harmful to you, the basin, and ruins the experience for others. Environmental enthusiasts travel from all over the world to experience Yellowstone, and this vandalism takes away from its natural beauty.
Commenters on the post were disgusted with the behavior. “Makes me so mad how disrespectful people can be,” said one user, and others chimed in with a similar sentiment. “Inconsiderate on so many levels,” wrote one, and another said, “Terrible … Such disrespect for such natural beauty.”
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