You Can't Take the "Wild" Out of the Wilderness

The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

You Can't Take the "Wild" Out of the Wilderness

Posted 2012-06-28T09:40:00Z  by  Stephanie

You Can't Take the "Wild" Out of the Wilderness

Robert L. Dea, of St. Newbury, Mass., lay broken and bleeding last week after a Yellowstone bison tossed him approximately 10 feet in the air and pinned him to the ground. According to the story posted in Yellowstone Gate, Dea suffered a broken collarbone, shoulder blade, several ribs and a groin injury after he refused to move away from a bison that approached him.

I feel for Dea and hope he experiences a full recovery, but this accident could have been easily avoided had he used some common sense and kept a safe distance from the bison. Dea's injuries come just weeks after a young woman fell to her death when she and her friends wandered off the trail and proceeded to sit on a ledge overlooking Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. The ledge gave away and she fell 400 feet. And, if you recall in the news last year, the death and accident count for America's national parks was shockingly high, especially for Yosemite National Park, where several drownings occured after hikers disregarded warning signs and barriers indicating dangerous waters.

I can't help but wonder if many of these accidents have occurred because people have become too removed from the great outdoors. They spend their days indoors in front of computers or TVs or in big cities and have developed no true understanding or respect for Mother Nature's power.

Those of us who grew up hunting, fishing and enjoying other outdoor sports appreciate Mother Nature's beauty, but understand her many dangers. The same cannot be said for some. For many vacationers, a visit to a national park is their first foray into the wild, and they treat the terrain and animals in the park as if they are benign amusement park attractions.

I witnessed this firsthand while working and living at Yellowstone for several months during my college years. I actually saw a parent try to place his toddler on the back of a bison for a photograph. Those of us who witnessed this event yelled for the father to stop what he was doing and back away. Fortunately, the bison was not in a fighting mood that day, but had it been, both the father and child could have suffered serious injuries, if not death.

So do you think some of these accidents are caused by the victims' lack of respect for nature? Have you ever witnessed reckless human behavior in the wild?