Posted by: coastcontact | June 9, 2016

A Hot Springs Death Reminds Park Visitors that they are in a Wilderness Area

I worked in Yellowstone National Park when I was a college student. That was a long time ago. The place is gorgeous. It’s the scenery and wildlife that cannot be found in many other places in the United States.

I remember the issues related to feeding the bears who stood in the middle of the roads begging for food. Traffic would be lined up for a mile of more as cars drove slowly past the bears. About every third or fourth car would stop and the passengers would lower their windows just an inch or two to give a begging bear some food. Employees at the park called these events “bear jams.” Every once in while a bear became angry and ripped open a window. There were lots of frightened tourists.

1960 Summer in Yellowstone Park - 180 degree hot pool at West Thumb #18 edited

Abyss Pool, Yellowstone National Park, Water temperature 192 degrees

Taken with a Kodak Pony 35MM Camera.

The board walks in the geyser areas all had signs warning visitors not to leave the walks. You could see the water in those pools and geysers was boiling hot. Steam was emitting from them. Some pools had signs by them indicating the temperature of the water.

1960 Summer in Yellowstone Park - Mammoth Hot Springs #11_edited-2

Mammoth Hot Springs.  A dirty old slide taken with a Kodak Pony 35MM Camera.

Similarly there were signs warning visitors to stay away from close encounters with wild life. So when a Black Bear approached our patio dining area in Sequoia National Park we quickly went into the cabin. The bear broke open a can of tomato sauce and ate the contents as we watched through a window.

There have been deaths as a result of exiting trails and climbing on rocks in the Merced River near Yosemite Falls.

So when someone is killed as a result of not following the posted instructions who is to blame?

Twenty three year old Colin Nathaniel Scott thought he was wiser than park rangers.


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