A Left Coast Birder's Viewpoint
When good nature-lovers go bad
We see it all the time. People with good intentions going out to enjoy nature, to involve/introduce their kids to nature, perhaps to connect with it, to get a little closer, but then again perhaps not with the best approach.
One of the reasons we stick to not so mainstream “natural attractions” is that we don’t witness the atrocities of the public interacting with nature.
There are many examples we’ve witnessed when going to the more popular nature spots.
Ignoring the nature of nature
I remember the days not long ago when there was no boardwalk or “village” or miles and miles of parking around the geyser. At least the boardwalk keeps people from doing this:
I love the expression on the boy's face
I can pine for the good ole days, but still people weren’t much better back then. This picture reminds me of my childhood.
I remember being stood in front of a geyser that was going off – really I was more interested in watching the geyser shoot water into the air than looking at my dad take a picture of me.
Of course there are people who just don’t think – dumb people and nature don’t seem to mix well. Every time there’s an animal sitting by the side of the road people stop, get out of their car, and approach the animal directly – perhaps to get a better picture or to see if they can out run an elk/moose/bison. Perhaps people think it is more like a zoo where the animals are tame and don’t/can’t attack humans (when in actuality there is a whole book dedicated to animal attacks in
Got a great example of this on our 2007 trip to Montana:
The picture on the left is what happens two seconds after the picture on the right was taken or at least it is something that is very possible. The handout on the right is actually given to all cars when they enter Yellowstone - the rangers know not to trust us to read posted signs... Unfortunately the handouts don't seem very effective either.
Remember when the tail is up, it means one of two things - charge or discharge.
Ignoring the signs.
These people are the reason
Next we saw a car drive up to the same viewpoint with the passenger standing up through the sunroof with a camcorder in hand. They pause at the viewpoint – not getting out of the car, but kept rolling film.
And yet a lot of people do this on some level – perhaps this is the extreme, but there are a lot of people (with the capability of walking) who don’t walk more than 20 feet away from their cars – like there’s an invisible tether that ties them to a ton of steel.
No dogs means no dogs
At the Redwoods National and State Park, we met the woman who hiked with her off-leashed dog on the trails that were clearly marked with signs saying, “no dogs allowed.” When reminded that these were the rules of the trails, her claim was that it was her dog’s “backyard.” Its hard to argue with someone so set in their ways – and it’s hard to approach people who break the rules, when those rules are put in place for very good reasons. We could have told her that her dog doesn’t own the woods – and really the forest is the home of many woodland creatures that are actually harmed by her dogs presence (the potential disease or fleas/worms/etc that harm the ecosystem – all of this was explained on the signs at the trailheads). I understand owners like letting their dogs roam off-leash, but they should be at least responsible about it. Plus, there are plenty of areas and trails allow off-leashed dogs.
Of course no one is totally innocent of loving nature to death – think of all the carbon dioxide-emitting fossil fuel I’ve burned to drive my car into the “wilderness.” Think of all the plants I’ve trampled and animals I’ve scared off.