Reader Participation Day: Do National Parks Provide Ample Wildlife Warnings to Visitors?
Among the brochures you often receive when you enter national parks are park newspapers and, in some cases, leaflets that address specific issues, such as wildlife concerns.
At Yellowstone National Park, for instance, among the handouts are flyers on keeping your distance from bison, which, while looking docile, don't like you getting too close to them.
But in the wake of last week's fatal grizzly bear attack in Yellowstone, and last fall's fatal goring by a mountain goat of a hiker in Olympic National Park, are park officials doing enough to educate visitors on wildlife?
If you plan an overnight backcountry trip in Yellowstone, you have to sit through a briefing that includes a video touching on traveling in bear country. The video instructs you on how to keep clean campsites and how to hike -- in groups, and making noise -- to avoid sudden confrontations with bears.
Should this sort of introduction to backcountry travel be standard for all park visitors? After all, in parks such as Yellowstone, Glacier, Grand Teton and others, the "backcountry" boundary can be just feet from your parked car.
Granted, sitting each and every park visitor down to a safety video would be impossible. But is there some other way that parks could better inform visitors about wildlife issues, or should visitors be expected to educate themselves?