One of the things I do to prepare myself for visitor questions, and just to pass the time, is to read reviews of parks online.
Needless to say, some people are very misinformed and have some odd expectations about how the park should be!
Many of them make me shake my head and giggle.
These are from the very few poor reviews I found!
Yellowstone National Park is one of the top ten most visited National “Parks” in the US.
“YOLOstone. Y’all Only Live Once, so y’all should come here & visit sometime.”
“Personally, I don’t care much about geysers. I’m gonna get a lot of hate for this, but I feel like once I’ve seen one, I’ve seen ’em all! The highlight of Yellowstone for me was seeing bison cross the road & causing all traffic to stop. I never knew bison could be so boss. And the second highlight had to be seeing the Canyon & the waterfalls. I went in the afternoon, but it’d probably be even more gorgeous around sunset.
I’m hoping next time I visit, I’ll get the chance to camp out in the wilderness, hug a big brown bear & hike all day.”
“A crown jewel of national parks in any country but the NPS needs to add another campground – preferably just for tent camping. They also need to start switching the campground outhouses over from nasty pit toilets to composting toilets. The park could make a ton of money if they offered pay-by-the-hour doggie day care near the bigger thermal attractions (i.e., Norris Geyser Basin, Lower Geyser Basin, Mammoth Hot Springs).”
“The best sign that I saw was Exit. The limited road system, of which perhaps a third is devoted to getting to thermals and geysers that are of little interest to me, does little to display the animal life. When occasional animals were spotted, having fifty vehicles stop to get a look is hardly my idea of viewing wildlife. The feeling of being in Times Square was further enhanced by people out of their vehicles talking loudly while their kids squealed and shouted. Many idiots chased the animals across the plains or into woods to get a picture.
There are many beautiful parts of Yellowstone, but the antics of the human animal spoiled them all. A whole bunch of rules to limit human presence and activities are necessary to preserve this area as a wildlife sanctuary, but I cannot envisage the Parks Board doing anything.
Finally, we stayed at Canyon Lodge. It would have been expensive at half the price.”
“Speaking of which, I’m glad we went to Old Faithful, so that we could say we’ve been there. But the setup looked so artificial that it took my excitement away. A boardwalk has been built to keep all the tourists off the fragile ground. It was a partial circle around Old Faithful, with two rows of benches. Are we at Sea World?”
My Favorite one!
“I couldn’t wait to get back to New York from this uncivilized wilderness. It’s like a bigger version of Central Park, only with bears.
There’s no Starbucks for a hundred miles around. No streetside falafel stands (the park ranger said something about bears tragically ending the first experiment). They don’t let you swim in the spa pools. You can’t throw your trash onto the street like NYC. There’s nowhere to get a pastrami on rye at 2AM. It’s worse than Hoboken!
My buddy scheduled us for a stay at the “Madison” campground, which I assumed was a sister property of the Madison Hotel across from Grand Central Station. Boy was I surprised! We had to sleep in tents (with no housekeeping service (!!!)) and rough it out in the open.
The only things that reminded me of New York were the rotten egg stench of the steam vents, the crowds at Old Faithful, the snack bar prices, all the government workers standing around, and the overwhelming presence of Asian and European tourists.
It made me truly appreciate living in the Greatest City in the World, NYC. Next time I wanna to see wildlife I’m just gonna go to New Jersey.”
Thank goodness someone had great advice though!
“Note to first-time travellers to Yellowstone from someone who grew up in Montana and has been to the park many times. This is NOT a safe area. Just because no one is there to stop you from taking a picture 10 feet away from a bull bison in rut or walking on a thermal crust to look inside a hot pool (you don’t even want to know how many people, even park employees, have died walking on what they thought was stable ground that broke away) doesn’t mean that you can do it. In the Lamar Valley by the elk carcass, someone (perhaps the nearby people from the Yellowtone Institute) had put up signs closing the area to people walking or fishing from the parking lot in hopes that the wolves would come back. The rules aren’t just in place for your safety but for the enjoyment of others and the safety and well-being of the animals. Please don’t run up to bears, bison, elk, moose to take pictures, these are dangerous animals. Enjoy the park for the wilderness that it is, but live to come back to visit again. If you missed that perfect shot of an animal you’ve been dying to see, there are still postcards in the gift stores.”
The best way to make sure you have a great visit is to be flexible and don’t be afraid to ask questions!
I wouldn’t want you to have to write a bad review! 🙂
Check out my next post on the 13th for tips on visiting a National Park.