When In Yellowstone

Angie Ripple

It’s been said there are only two seasons in Montana: winter and road construction. Most certainly in Bozeman there is a third season, tourist season, and it is upon us. Our proximity to the United States’ first national park makes us an obvious layover stop for many a Yellowstone tourist and also makes the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport the busiest in the state. As if tourists needed an extra incentive to knock YNP off their bucket list, the 100th anniversary of The National Park Service is this August 25, 2016 making the park an even bigger target for visitors from around the world.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or off the grid, you’ve heard of three May events in and near Yellowstone National Park that make locals scratch their heads, light up social media posts with all kinds of derogatory quips, and sadden our proverbial hearts. The first incident took place on Monday, May 9, 2016 when a Canadian visitor and his son believed that a Bison calf was terribly cold and put it in the back of their SUV. This, of course, is on the list of things NOT to do in the park. It’s a long list we’ll continue to add to this year, no doubt. Why not put a bison in your car? As a child did you learn not to touch baby birds when they fell out of their nests because the mother would reject them and they would die? Yeah, that! And sadly this is what became of the young bison; after multiple attempts to reunite the bison with the herd, park officials euthanized it “because it was abandoned and causing a dangerous situation by continually approaching people and cars along the roadway.” Not cool, Canada. But wait, more Canadian absurdities were just around the corner.

Only a few days later, four entrepreneurial Canadian millenials entered YNP in a buslike RV doing what they do--“Travel Around the World for a Living and Make Fun and Adventurous Videos!” Their video of them entering the park shows blatant disregard for literature given to every visitor warning of getting too close to wildlife. They immediately joke about riding a buffalo (or is it a bison?). Getting a buffalo into their RV isn’t what has us all infuriated with these guys though; it’s their incredible disrespect for the natural wonders of the Grand Prismatic Spring, along with other features in the park. Taking your clothes off and running into what is considered the world’s largest intact ecosystem is grounds for a very swift kick in your bare ass from the karmic wave that is coming for you. We do not accept your Facebook post apology. A criminal complaint has been filed and arrest warrants have been issued for three of the Canadian men; hopefully the fourth will soon follow.

Just four days later a Texas pedestrian was struck by a vehicle near the West Yellowstone entrance to YNP while attempting to photograph an eagle. This incident is very sad and completely avoidable. Yellowstone is fascinating, and there are so many sites, animals, and features to see that we could all be caught paying more attention to something other than the road, but please don’t let this be you.

 It is our responsibility as locals to set a good example when visiting Yellowstone. If you are visiting Montana and reading this, we want you to feel welcome. We also want to make sure you get to go home safely, and we really want you to follow the rules.    

For a much funnier set of rules click here.

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