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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 flatrock on 8/24/2010 1:32:53 PM , Rating: 0
And apparently the whinging of employees of the National Parks.
Any job in which you have to deal with such morons justifies some whining.
Perhaps instead of lashing out at the ills of cell phones and emergency call buttons, they should consider how many lives have been saved by the same technology.
We the taxpayes end up paying $3000 - $4000 an hour to have a helicopter respond to idiots. Calling out an emergency responce for a trivial reason should get you a large fine and is a good reason for those who have have to provide these services on a limited budget to complain.
They aren't complaining about responding to genuine emergencies. On the contrary, having to respond to idiots sucks up their budgets and impairs their ability to respond to genuine emergencies.
Suck it up, and take appropriate action against those who abuse the emergecy system.
The ability to pay thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in fines is not a prerequsite for utilizing our national parks, nor is it likely to become a requirement.
It's a public resource and people are considered inocent of being complete idiots until they prove otherwise.

RE: Boo hoo
By Reclaimer77 on 8/24/2010 1:42:53 PM , Rating: 2
What's with all the <p>'s ?? Makes this super annoying to read.

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