These are questions that people actually asked of Park Rangers around the United States. Excerpted from Outside Magazine, May 1995, pp. 120-121.
Grand Canyon National Park
Was this man-made?
Do you light it up at night?
I bought tickets for the elevator to the bottom -- where is it?
Is the mule train air conditioned?
So where are the faces of the presidents?
Everglades National Park
Are the alligators real?
Are the baby alligators for sale?
Where are all the rides?
What time does the two o'clock bus leave?
Denali National Park (Alaska)
What time do you feed the bears?
Can you show me where the yeti lives?
How often do you mow the tundra?
How much does Mount McKinley weigh?
Mesa Verde National Park
Did people build this, or did Indians?
Why did they build the ruins so close to the road?
What did they worship in the kivas -- their own made-up religion?
Do you know of any undiscovered ruins?
Why did the Indians decide to live in Colorado?
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
How much of the cave is underground?
So what's in the unexplored part of the cave?
Does it ever rain in here?
How many Ping-Pong balls would it take to fill this up?
So what is this -- just a hole in the ground?
Yosemite National Park
Where are the cages for the animals?
What time do you turn on Yosemite Falls?
Can I get my picture taken with the carving of President Clinton?
Yellowstone National Park
Does Old Faithful erupt at night?
How do you turn it on?
When does the guy who turns it on get to sleep?
We had no trouble finding the park entrances, but where are the exits?
Todd Ourston * Marin County, California
Date Received: Thu, 15 Oct 1998
I can attest to the brilliant insights of some campers. One particular trip, I overheard one say, "where can I plug in this hairdryer in the morning?" We were ten miles from town in an isolated pasture with a little stream running through it. No waterwheel in sight. These were the same campers that packed lunch into paper bags for a river rafting trip. The fish ate well that day. Kent
These are actual comments left on Forest Service comment cards by backpackers completing wilderness camping trips:
A small deer came into my camp and stole my bag of pickles. Is there a way I can get reimbursed? Please call.
Escalators would help on steep uphill sections.
Instead of a permit system for hikers, the Forest Service needs to reduce worldwide population growth to limit the number of visitors to wilderness.
Trails need to be wider so people can walk while holding hands.
Found a smouldering cigarette left by a horse.
Trails need to be reconstructed. Please avoid building trails that go uphill.
Too many bugs and leeches and spiders and spider webs. Please spray the wilderness to rid the area of these pests.
Please pave the trails so they can be plowed of snow in the winter.
Chairlifts need to be in some places so that we can get to wonderful views without having to hike to them.
The coyotes made too much noise last night and kept me awake. Please eradicate these annoying animals.
Need more signs to keep area pristine.
A McDonald's would be nice at the trailhead.
The places where trails do not exist are not well marked.
Too many rocks in the mountains.
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