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Cell phones, camera's, etc. cause mishaps and false emergencies within national parks

National parks all over the United States have had problems in the past involving visitors being injured by wildlife, touching scalding hot geysers and so on. While incidents like these are bad enough, rangers within the national parks are now saying that technology is a key component that's helping to cause these mishaps. To make matters worse, visitors are using their technology for non emergency-related purposes.

Yellowstone National Park, for example, has had a record number of visitor-related accident's during the month of July, and according to rangers, technology is often to blame. Recently, the park had an issue with a visitor who got a little too close to a buffalo in order to obtain a picture, and it charged toward the woman causing injury.

This isn't the only case where a camera got a visitor into trouble. Just this month, a French teenager fell 75 feet from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon while backing up to take a picture. 

While both of these accidents were careless, they were legitimate emergencies that called for rescuing. What has rangers frustrated with visitors is when they use their technology to call rangers for "emergencies" that are not really emergencies at all.

"Every once in awhile we get a call from someone who has gone to the top of a peak, the weather has turned and they are confused about how to get down and they want someone to personally escort them," said Jackie Skaggs, spokeswoman for Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. "The answer is that you are up there for the night."

Another instance of emergency misuse on a cell phone was when a group of hikers traveled to the Grand Canyon last fall and constantly pressed the emergency rescue button on their electronic device (which does not allow the sender to explain why they're calling for help) and every time the rangers showed up in a helicopter, the group would have an excuse like their water was too salty, or they were short on water. By the third time that this had happened, the group was sent home and the leader was issued a citation. 

Park rangers not only lose time dealing with potential real emergencies when these incidents occur, but they also lose a hefty amount of money. According to Maureen Oltrogge, a spokeswoman for Grand Canyon National Park, it costs about $3,400 an hour to send a helicopter into the park. 

"Because of having that electronic device, people have an expectation that they can do something stupid and be rescued," said Skaggs. 



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RE: Boo hoo
By LRonaldHubbs on 8/24/2010 8:32:32 AM , Rating: 5
Exactly. Both of the people mentioned in this article who were injured while taking pictures failed to exercise caution and common sense. The technology didn't cause those incidents, their own stupidity did. Take away the cameras and they probably would have injured themselves some other way.

And idiots that misuse the emergency help button should be billed for the expense of sending the helicopter out. People who misuse the 911 service get fined. This should be no different.


RE: Boo hoo
By SpaceRanger on 8/24/2010 9:39:20 AM , Rating: 5
You could replace the cameras with ones that existed 30 years ago, and the same thing would have happened. Definitely not the fault of technology here.


RE: Boo hoo
By LRonaldHubbs on 8/24/2010 5:39:58 PM , Rating: 2
Good point.


RE: Boo hoo
By ira176 on 8/25/2010 2:16:37 AM , Rating: 3
Technology might have kept the person from taking that last step backward over the edge if they had the proper wide angle lens on their camera.


RE: Boo hoo
By tastyratz on 8/25/2010 9:11:08 AM , Rating: 2
you give them too much credit.
Probably just did not know they could zoom out...


RE: Boo hoo
By Lerianis on 8/25/10, Rating: 0
RE: Boo hoo
By Zingam on 8/26/2010 4:22:38 AM , Rating: 2
I remember that a Canadian girl has been eaten by a bear.
She was riding her bike and she saw a bear. She went to the bear to caress it and she was eaten.

Is the bicycle the reason?

It's not the camera the reason it is the idiot who's using it. I've also experienced that when I'm taking pictures I tend to get careless. But the camera cannot be blamed for that.


"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov














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