Y-stone backcountry regs unsafe?

The thread about the canoer lost to Lewis Lake prompted me to voice an opinion I’ve held for a while - even though it’s not really applicable to that poor guy.

Why can’t the Park somehow expedite the “safety training” they give to backcountry users prior to leaving for a trip - particularly for locals?

Even though many of us work and play in and around the park, in bear country, and have done so for a number of years we’re still required to watch that 30 minute video about how to stay safe. At least to my knowledge, you have to wait until 9am to do this and to get your permits.

If not for that requirement a person could start out on the lake or trail at least 2 or 3 hours earlier leaving more time and helping to avoid the afternoon winds.

I understand the importance of educating those who are new to bear country etc but why can’t those of us who spend lots of time in the park get a “frequent flyer” exemption like the park employees (many of who are only there for one season) do?

This and the need to get backcountry permits in person 1 - 2 days prior to departure make it a real hassle for a local (at least one that lives further away than Gardiner or West) to go on a weekend trip.

Same here in Glacier Park country. Every time we want to take our kayaks to a back country camp, we have to watch the film again. Having lived in grizzly country longer than most of the park rangers have been alive causes me some angst.

sounds like lawyers at work again

– Last Updated: Jul-21-05 7:30 PM EST –

This is anecdotal but I recall reading several years ago about a lawsuit against the park service when someone's child fell into hot springs and died. I gather that some folks want to sue the federal government for not protecting them from nature. Pure speculation and fear mongering on my part but....why didn't you warn me there were maneating bears in the woods, sharks and rip tides in the ocean and alligators in the swamp?

Oh, yea, I agree you should only have to endure the training session once. After that, you just show them your suitable for framing official certificate of achievement for sitting through the movie. Everytime you want to go into the woods? That is overkill, so to speak.

In Yellowstone, YOu can “pre-pay” and sign up for a site months or weeks in advance. Its cost a measley $10.00 WHich should be well work the 30 mintutes you normally would wait for a permit in Mammoth etc.

One of the main reason for NOT expediting…is…to make a long story short…to keep the park from having its gates closed for good! i.e LAWSUITS! Its always the employeess and the locals who have “drained” the bank on the parks. For example the three kids who were burned badly and one dieing from falling into the hotpot. They were not warned and thus the parents are sueing for millions etc. The guy on Shoeshone who drowned was on a day outing which you dont need any permits etc. If the park let every local off with a prepaid stamp every time and not go through with it your parents would be the first people to call a lawyer if you got munched by a bear. Sorry it has to be this way but thats the world we live in now.

but why…
I understand about the lawsuit effect but why would it not work to attend a once-a-year, more intensive safety “course” instead of that 20 minute video every single time you go on an overnighter?

As for the permit deal, you’re right - sort of. You can pay to reserve a backcountry SITE but even if you do this you have to pick up your PERMIT in person the day of or the day before your trip.

Say I want to go to Shoshone Lake over a Saturday night. I can reserve my site whenever I want to but being in Bozeman I can’t leave work at 5pm on Friday and get my permit and be ready for a 6am start on Saturday. I need to get my permit and watch that video on Saturday at 9am and by the time I hit the water it’s at least 10 am.

those 3 kids that jumped into the hotspring and who’s parents tried to sue were park employees!

I can’t believe for a second that they did not have some formal warning (don’t all the employees get an orientation upon arrival?) or at least read a sign or something during their stay to alert them of the parks dangers.

Two or three hours? No way
The video and briefing take maybe half an hour total. Not even close to “two or three hours”.

All you have to do is figure out which sites you want (first choice, second choice, third choice) before you do the final paperwork. If you pay the $20 reservation fee and fill out the papers by mail and get confirmation back BEFORE you arrive, you only have to go through the 20-30 minute video/briefing. It’s not a big deal.

I do agree that those of us who have seen the video several times could practically narrate it. The problem is, YELL has no way of knowing whether you backcountry camp often enough to really know their rules, or if the last time you went to YELL was the last time you did any backcountry camping. Which might have been three years ago.

I just got back from YELL and they apparently forego the video if you have seen it within the last year.

yes but
What would really HELP the park service is if you persoanlly wrote a letter to them at Mammoth with a detailed account of your problems and possible solutions. They wont read it on pnet and gather the information.

I agree with you points but it just doest work that way. Its the system and it changes with your input.