Yellowstone National Park is an area of stunning natural beauty, and experiencing it firsthand is a privilege. But respecting the park is vital, and rules and safety measures are put in place for a reason.
Among the things visitors to the park should be careful of are the wild animals, the hot springs, falling trees, and the cold and treacherous waters.
The Lower Falls is one of the most scenic areas of the whole park, and while the fences that follow the trail alongside it might seem prohibitive in regards to accessing peak viewing spots, they are absolutely essential to the well-being of park-goers.
A video from Instagrammer Ryan Vaughn (@ryanv_3) uploaded to TouronsOfYellowstone (@touronsofyellowstone) has shown one visitor ignoring the fences to take a child on a dangerous path leading close to the surging water.
No matter how carefully she was treading, there was always the risk of slipping or tripping on the rugged terrain and falling, which would have taken her and the child straight over the edge of the raised land and into the fast-running current leading to the steep drop.
“You wanna go be an idiot that’s great. Don’t bring your kid,” one commenter said.
“Pure stupidity and child abuse,” said another.
“[People] aren’t just endangering themselves when they do this … they’re endangering the first responders who have to show up and try to save them,” noted a third.
According to Yellowstone National Park’s website, more than 100 people have died in the park’s lakes and rivers. Hypothermia from the cold waters is a serious risk, and in this case, the drop of 308 feet at the Lower Falls would be incredibly dangerous.
Yellowstone says that anywhere between 5,000 to 60,000 gallons of water can fall over the cliff in a single second.
There are numerous safe observation points to view the powerful natural force of the falling water, and binoculars or a camera with a good zoom function can provide a closer look without putting anyone in danger.
Underscoring the importance of safety, CBS News reported a young girl died at Yellowstone in 2014 when stepping off the trail and slipping and falling into the Lower Falls.
Luckily, such a tragedy didn’t happen in the video above, but hopefully, this is a lesson in safety that can encourage others to respect the rules.
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