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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 JediJeb on 8/24/2010 2:55:50 PM , Rating: 2
You are right. The term "personal responsibility" seems to be totally lacking from the general population's vocabulary these days. If someone got to the top of a summit and then wanted someone to come lead them down because a storm was coming, they should just be told to start running down hill and get ready to get wet. People need to be responsible for their planning or lack there of in these circumstances. Add a big sign at the bottom that says if you don't prepare for the worse, then prepare to suffer the consequences.


RE: Boo hoo
By Invane on 8/24/2010 3:56:46 PM , Rating: 2
Not only that, but our society is fostering this complete lack of accountability. The minute we allow someone to experience the consequences for a poor personal decision or lack of common sense, that person is being allowed to throw the equivalent of a temper tantrum using our legal system. Every time someone wins one of these frivolous lawsuits, we reinforce the idea that it was someone else's fault for not jumping in to save them from their own idiocy.

Apologies for going a little off topic.


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