Tips for Respecting Our National Parks
If your family has yet to visit a National Park, you’re totally missing out. National Parks are one of the most awesome parts of living in the United States. Not only is the endless adventure, there is a ton of sightseeing to enjoy as well. The only problem is that respecting National Parks seems to be a lost art.
11 National Park Safety Tips You Must Follow
- Respect Wildlife
You may have read this recent article I wrote on How to Respect Wildlife. Wildlife is something that humans have already taken enough from. When you see wildlife, it is best to keep your distance and leave it alone. It’s okay to look, but don’t get too close. Approaching any kind of wildlife could be detrimental to you or the animal. When learning about respecting National Parks, start with learning how to treat the wildlife that reside there
2. Contact Authorities First
Although you may feel like you’re doing wildlife or something else a favor, it never makes sense to touch an animal who may be hurt. It is in your best interest and the best interest of the animal for you to contact authorities first. If you see an animal who is hurt, contacting the National Park authorities is one of the best things you can do.
3. Keep Your Distance
This may sound like a general statement, however, it is a true one. When you are in a National Park, you are going to come upon many different kinds of animals, trees, plants, and things you have never seen before. Learn to keep your distance. National Parks aren’t for you to disturb the things that live there. It is for you to get an experience of a lifetime, but not for you to bother what is not yours.
4. Pay Attention to the Park Regulations
Although no one likes rules, because it tends to slow us down, it is important to follow the rules and regulations of a National Park. Experts have spent many hours coming up with the rules to not only protect the wildlife but to also protect you. Before you even enter the National Park, you should read up on these rules and regulations.
5. Use Common Sense
If you are going to head to a National Park, one tip for respecting the area is to use common sense. It seems like a lot of our generation has forgotten how to use common sense. For example, not throwing trash on the ground would be common sense. Not leaving food on the ground would be common sense. When entering the National Park, it no longer is about “just you” because there are other living creatures.
6. Stay on the Boardwalks
One tip for learning to respect National Parks is staying on the boardwalks. The National Parks have designed boardwalks and trails to help keep you safe. Going off of these trails is not only disrespectful, but it can also harm you. You don’t enjoy someone coming into your home unwelcome, think about how the animals in the wild feel.
7. Study Up on the Animals
Something you can do before you even leave to go to a National Park is study up on the animals. Know what kind of animals will be in the National Park you are visiting. Once you understand the animals, it may become easier to respect them and their way of life. For example, bison are an animal that commonly harm people in National Parks. While you don’t need to be afraid of bison, you do need to respect them, their space, and their way of life.
8. Respect the Signs Placed
Something that I don’t understand in National Parks is why people choose to ignore the signs placed throughout the parks. The signs are there for a reason. Not only are signs like “do not feed” there for a reason, they are also there to protect you. You have an obligation to make sure you respect the signs placed in the National Parks!
9. Bodies of Water
Another aspect of National Parks that people don’t take seriously and respect are the bodies of water. The bodies of water in National Parks throughout the country have taken the lives of many. Some people do not take the bodies of water seriously. Don’t try to swim in the water or bother wildlife drinking from the water. It’s best to leave the plants and animals untouched as you hike by or drive by.
10. Follow the Speed Limit
Now this is a major tip when it comes to respecting National Parks. Not only are there other people driving around the National Parks, there are also animals. Make sure you pay attention to the speed limit when it comes to any National Park you visit. You may not think the speed limit is fast enough, but it is set in stone for a reason.
11. Falling Trees and Rock
This may be a bit scary when you are visiting a National Park, but it is also a reality. Dangerous things can happen in a park because it is all nature and nature isn’t always perfect. This is another reason it’s important to respect National Parks, for your own safety. Falling trees and rock are a real concern, so keep an eye out for signs and potential danger.
All of these tips for learning to respect National Parks are a big deal. The next time you think going to a National Park is “just another thing to do.” Think again! National Parks are a gift to humans. We get an inside look at what mother nature is up to. While we can’t touch or bother wildlife too much, you can still observe from afar and take a lot in.
I love getting active with the family and seeing wildlife in National Parks surrounding Utah. I also love teaching my kids how to respect our National Parks, it’s one of the best things we can teach them. Remember that in 100 years, we still want these National Parks around for our kids, so learning to respect them now is super important.
What tips would you add for respecting National Parks? I’d love to hear them!