Kelsey is a freelance writer based in Southern Virginia. She enjoys traveling with her family to destinations from national parks to amusement parks and loves sharing tips and stories from along the way.
Have you ever visited a national park and witnessed someone doing something that just felt wrong? Maybe someone was feeding the wildlife, littering, or being too loud in a quiet area. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to behave properly in these natural wonders! If you’re planning a trip to a national park soon, read on to make sure you’re not committing any of these major park fails.
1. Feeding or Approaching Wildlife
The animals in national parks are called wild for a reason! Don’t feed or approach the wildlife, and definitely don’t lean in for a selfie or try to pet them! Respecting their space is crucial for their safety and your own.
2. Straying from Designated Trails
Straying from designated trails in national parks may seem tempting, but it’s crucial to resist the urge. These trails are carefully planned to minimize human impact on the environment. By staying on the designated paths, you help to preserve the park’s beauty and health so that other visitors can enjoy it, too.
3. Ignoring Fire Safety
Smokey the Bear said it best- only YOU can prevent forest fires, so pay close attention to the park’s fire safety rules! Make sure fires are extinguished before you leave the area and respect fire bans.
4. Bringing Pets Into Restricted Areas
We understand that your pet is a part of the family, but not every park area is a good place to bring Fido. Unleashed or uncontrolled pets can disturb or harm wildlife, disturb nesting birds, trample vegetation, and introduce non-native species or diseases. Not to mention it can be unsafe for your pet, who may encounter hazards like poisonous plants or predators.
5. Littering Or Leaving Behind Trash
Absolutely no one is coming to a national park to see your soda can, snack wrapper, or cigarette butt, so please take your trash with you when you leave or dispose of it properly in designated bins! Litter is unsightly, and it poses a health hazard to the wildlife of the park. Leave the park as pristine as you found it.
6. Making Excessive Noise
Visitors are drawn to national parks for their tranquil and serene environment, so don’t disrupt everyone around you with excessive loud noise! Loud noises can also startle and stress animals. Additionally, excessive noise diminishes the opportunity for others to appreciate the soothing sounds of the park, such as the rustling of leaves or the melodies of birds. Keep noise levels to a minimum to maintain the peaceful atmosphere of the park.
7. Defacing Natural Features
You can take the memories of your trip with you, but don’t leave any sign that you were there. Resist the urge to carve or write on trees, rocks, or other natural elements. Leave the park’s natural beauty untouched for others to appreciate.
8. Going Off-Limits For Photos
National parks are packed with incredible photo opportunities, so resist the urge to cross barriers or ignore signage to get that perfect shot! Venturing beyond these boundaries can destroy the delicate habitats of the park and can put you in danger. Trust us; you don’t want to stumble into a canyon for the sake of the ‘Gram.
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