National park urges visitors to respect grounds

Sept. 21, 2016
By Brad Allen

A national park in the Rocky Mountains has issued a plea bargain with its visitors: Don’t poop in our park.

Unfortunately, many visitors seem to have disregarded this request. The popular tourist destination has been plagued by discarded toilet paper – evidence of the foul deeds going on each day inside the grounds.

Kyle Patterson, a Rocky Mountain National Park spokeswoman said he believes the excess litter is due in part to an increase in traffic. The Rocky Mountain National Park received more than four million visitors in 2015, a few of whom are culprits of ‘doing the nasty, despicable deed.’

“With that increase, we started to see a different behavior in our visitors,” Patterson said.

While most people behave properly, the number engaging in illegal activity increased so much that the park this summer issued a plea for assistance in trying to educate visitors about park etiquette.

The New York Times reported that the “Please Help Your Friends to Behave Better to Protect Rocky Mountain National Park” statement covered a variety of topics, including avoiding the park between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. during the summer and fall, restrictions on campfires, keeping a distance from wildlife, not taking items from the wild, the prohibition on pets in most places, parking and, yes, bathroom habits.

“If your friend is a frequent pooper, suggest taking care of that before hiking. If nature calls, plan ahead — bring a waste bag, or research tips on how to poop in the woods,” the statement said. “Friends don’t let friends go to the bathroom near water sources. Just think, you might be drinking from that water source the next day!”

Similar issues have been faced by park directors at Glacier National Park, Colorado and inside the National Park of American Samoa.

Several national parks have issued directions for visitors in regards to how to properly divulge human excrement.

But the issues faced by park directors does not start and end with failed bowel movements.

A few years ago, a man visiting Rocky Mountains National Park was punched in the face after politely telling another visitor that he needed to stay off the tundra to protect the fragile ecosystem, Patterson said.

Rather than encouraging people to engage with strangers, the lighthearted primer “was truly meant to connect with park visitors to be able to share with their friends what the rules and regulations are and why,” Patterson said.

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About Brad Allen

I am a 20-year-old college student at UW-W, studying Journalism and Creative Writing. I'm an aspiring author, and I've self-published a novel through Amazon. I currently work for both the Royal Purple and the Janesville Gazette newspapers.
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