What Not To Do When Visiting A National Park
National Parks are some of the most incredible places on the planet and see hundreds of millions of visitors each year. Unfortunately, not every person who spends time in one of the 58 national parks in the United States does so on their best behavior. Disrespectful and even dangerous conduct in the parks is sadly quite common. In an effort to continue advocating for proper etiquette in Zion National Park, please be advised of the following inappropriate behaviors and safety suggestions.
Do Not Interact With or Engage Wildlife
A national park is full of animals. Zion certainly has its fair share. And we understand that interacting with creatures when you spot them may seem like a harmless activity. It’s not. The majority of foods that we put into our bodies, especially processed and pre-packaged snacks, are harmful to wild animals and can make them sick and even kill them. What’s potentially worse is that when people visiting national parks are consciously approaching animals and interacting with them and feeding them, certain creatures may begin to become accustomed to approaching humans themselves, identifying us as a food source. This puts them, especially large animals such as crocodiles and bears, in danger of being euthanized for safety reasons. Just stay away from the animals. It keeps you safe and it keeps them safe. If you’re close enough that they are responding to your presence, you’re too close.
Did you know that a few years ago, in 2014, a formal regulation had to be declared by the U.S. Forest Service stating that it was an official violation to take selfies with bears? What this means is that there were enough people needlessly endangering their lives by approaching wild bears and attempting to take photos with them that officials had to actually spend time and resources to make this action formally prohibited. Ugh. Your number of Instagram followers isn’t worth it, folks. It just isn’t.
Do Not Take Anything
With the exception of some parks that allow you to keep fish you catch or try some of the native berries, for example, do not ever take things you find. It’s not allowed and can subject you to fines. Treat a national park the way you would treat a museum. Don’t carve things, mark things, take things, move things, etc.
Do Not Ignore Signs
A national park is full of instructional signs such as “No hiking beyond this point” or “No swimming allowed” or “Danger: 200 ft drop” or “Campfires prohibited”; things like that. Remember that you are not invincible. Where national parks are concerned, being adventurous does not mean avoid posted precautions. These signs are there for your protection and for the protection of the land and the wildlife in it. Being careless can result in serious injury or even death. And please obey the speed limit signs posted inside park boundaries. National park roads often contain switchbacks, sharp curves, and sudden stops. Don’t speed.
Do Not Be Careless About Campfires
Make yourself aware of the campfire rules of the particular national park you’re visiting, because there are certainly going to be some. Most parks, if they allow any campfires at all, do not allow visitors to bring their own wood into the park, for example, and may have specific cleanup and pit size regulations all of which must be followed. And don’t pee on the flames to put them out. Ammonia stinks and will not be a welcome aroma to campers around you.
Carry A Map
A national park rarely has cell service and if it does, it’s extremely weak and sporadic. This means that GPS apps and similar devices are unreliable while exploring Zion National Park and others. Know how to use and read a map, get one, and keep it with you while inside a national park.
Prepare Your Personal Vehicle
If you are driving your own car and traveling a far distance to your national park of choice, make sure that you are prepared for potential car trouble. You don’t want to be trekking through Death Valley and have no way of changing a flat, to name one possible scenario. Make sure your vehicle has things like a jack and a spare tire. Keep water bottles and food in your car as well. You just never know, you know?
What Not To Do When Visiting National Parks
Article by Clear Content Marketing