Monday, September 21, 2015

Colorado Trail Remains Closed Because People Are Taking Too Many Selfies With Bears

Remember earlier in the summer when I wondered just what was going on in America's national parks? At the time, there were several high profile accounts of people getting attacked by bison in Yellowstone because they were too busy taking selfies with the animals that they didn't even notice that they were annoying the creatures. It was starting to turn into a major problem, as more than a half-dozen attacks had occurred by mid-summer. Well, it turns out the stupidity isn't just reserved to the national parks, nor just people interacting with bison.

A popular trail in Colorado has been closed since late August because too many people were stopping to take selfies with the bears that are roaming the area. The Waterton Canyon portion of the Colorado Trail was shut down on August 28 after numerous bears – including two females with two cubs each – were spotted in the area. But the problem isn't the bears, who are frequently sighted in the canyon. It is the hikers who insist on taking a selfie while in close proximity with the animals.

"We’ve actually seen people using selfie sticks to try and get as close to the bears as possible, sometimes within 10 feet of wild bears," Brandon Ransom, Denver Water’s manager of recreation said while discussing the closure of the trail. "The current situation is not conducive for the safety of our visitors or the well-being of the wildlife.”

As if that wasn't bad enough, apparently the hashtag "#bearselfie" was a trending term for awhile too, indicating that numerous people were willing to risk their own safety to get a shot of themselves with a wild animal. 

Much like the people who were getting attacked in Yellowstone by the bison, these folks don't have a whole lot of respect for the creatures they are getting so close to. These animals are wild and unpredictable, and can do a lot of damage if they want to. Fortunately, the Yellowstone bison didn't end up killing one, and there have been no reports of bear attacks in Waterton, but it seems like only a matter of time if visitors to these areas, and others like them, don't learn to give the animals the respect they deserve, not to mention a wide berth. 

There is no word yet on when the trail will reopen, but now that fall is upon us the trail will likely be less crowded anyway. Hopefully those who want to legitimately hike the canyon, and the Colorado Trail, will be able to return to it soon. 

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