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Darwin in the National Parks

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There is no limit to stupid. The season of idiots being allowed into the National Parks has begun. A woman was gored by a bison in Yellowstone after she and a bunch of other morons got too close. 




I live within two hours drive of three national parks and every year there are multiple deaths in those parks of people who left their brains (if they have any) at home. I recall one bozo who climbed up a rocky precipice during a storm and wanted to sue the park service after he was struck by lightening because they didn't put up a warning sign. I have seen tourists approach a mother bear with two cubs to less than 20 yards to get a selfie. (There is a joke out there about the tombstone epitaph that reads, "I wonder where the mother bear is.")


These places are wild wildernesses. They are not city parks or petting zoos. The parks near me are home to white water rapids, cliffs, rattle snakes, lightening storms, bears, mountain lions, and more. Why is it that people who think they can walk up to an 8-point buck for a photo are surprised when they get gored?

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People are stupid. Once you learn to expect it, it ceases to be surprising.


A father and his boy strolling through a park get attacked by an enraged buffalo. The father manages to escape. The boy however is not so fortunate and gets killed.


The father exclaims, "By son!"

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And on tonight's news yet another drowning in one of the fast-flowing rivers. These waterways are fed by melting snow from high up in the Sierra Nevada and are very cold. If you don't drown outright, hyperthermia will get you. 

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Waaay back in...I think it was the early 90's in Lake Forest (El Toro) CA.


A young lady (8 or 9) was attacked by a mountain lyon in a park. This was not a city park but more of a nature preserve - basically the great outdoors.


The girls parents sued, and won, $2mil because there was no sign stating that mountain lyon encounters are a possibility. 


One of the reasons the award was what it was is that the girl supposedly suffered brain damage. A few years later it was disclosed in the media that she had graduated Jr. High with honors. 


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7 hours ago, MOHO said:

there was no sign stating that mountain lyon encounters are a possibility. 


Yup. I don't think I could be an objective juror in such a case. I found the case. It was in 1986, in Ronald Caspers Wilderness Park in Orange County.  The child was a 5-year-old named Laura Small. Her head was crushed and she lost an eye and is paralyzed on her right side. I'm sorry the girl was bitten, but life is fraught with peril.


A popular hike that we take several times a year has just such a sign at the trailhead. The ludicrousness of this is that this trail runs near a highway and some homes and the likelihood of a mountain lion there is practically zero, while there are no such signs on the many other trails we take that are farther into the wilderness.


I have encountered black bears on the trails here in the central Sierra Nevada and if you use common sense, there isn't a problem. We had one cross in front of us on a hike about a month ago. It took off down the slope and disappeared like something from a David Copperfield show. 


Follow the rules. Never, ever, hike alone. Stay together. If the bear doesn't run away, blow the athletic coach's whistle you have on the lanyard around your neck, make yourself look as big as you can, and stand your ground — do not run. Unless you have a slab of bacon tied around your neck, they will run when they see you. I also carry pepper spray just in case but I've never had to reach for it. 


Now grizzly bears are a different matter, but they are extinct in California. We saw some grizzlies in Alaska but the guides we were with made noise from time to time so as to not surprise a bear, and they also carried the industrial-strength bear spray. I have heard of folks who tie small jingle bells to their boots, but that would drive me crazy. The vast majority of bear attacks are the result of surprising the bear.



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