YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK – It was big weekend for Yellowstone National Park with the unofficial start of peak season for visitors from around the country and the world.
Many of the people who visit Yellowstone in the summer are first-timers, often it’s the first time they’ve ever been in any national park — so some may need a little guidance.
“Enjoy the park, but to do so safely,” advised Yellowstone National Park spokeswoman Linda Veress.
That means protecting not just yourself but the park wonders like thermal features and its animals as well. Park rangers give information and safety talks about this all the time.
“Leave the fireworks at home to enjoy for another day, said Veress, adding that, “it’s difficult to get lodging and camping at the last minute, so do the research and make plans in advance.”
Another tip is to stay on the boardwalks. One wrong step could end in injury or even death — and, let’s add patience to this list because you will need it at this time of year.
“Parking areas can be crowded and roadways can be crowded as well with traffic. There can be animal jams, there might be lines at the gate,” Veress told MTN News.
Once you do get into the park, don’t neglect that campfire. Yellowstone officials note that fires are only allowed in designated fire rings and must be cold to the touch before you leave.
Then there’s the Yellowstone Pledge, which includes some important advice.
“Give animals space. Just a reminder to stay 100 yards away from bears and wolves and 25 yards away from all other animals,” Veress said.
Visitors should also “be bear aware”, travel in a group and don’t forget one important accessory.
“Bear spray. We always recommend folks to carry bear spray when they’re out and about in the park, especially when they’re on the trails, Veress said.
“It’s good to know how to use the bear spray and we have a great video on our website at nps.gov/yell.”
The number one killer in Yellowstone National Park over the years has been water.
More people drown than fall victim to any other fatal catastrophe. That’s because high winds can whip down off the mountains forming big waves ion the lakes.
Plus, the water is very cold and in streams and rivers, the current can be a lot stronger than you think.
-John Sherer reporting for MTN News