10 Of The Dumbest Tourists To Ever Set Foot In A National Park

A cow walking down a road

Summer is the perfect time to get outside and explore the great outdoors. America is home to some of the most spectacular and scenic wild places on earth.

The protection and preservation of those world class wild places, and the wild things that inhabit them, would not be possible without the National Park Service (NPS).

The mission of the NPS is to preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.

The Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.

The National Park System encompasses 423 individually designated sites that span more than 84 million acres in all 50 states and multiple U.S. territories and hosts more than approximately 318 million visitors each year.

With literally hundreds of millions of people to choose from, these idiots actually made it surprisingly simple to pick the 10 dumbest things that park visitors have ever done.

We even have a celebrity appearance.

So without further ado, here’s a list that none of these people probably want to be on…

World’s Dumbest Park Visitors

#1 – Bison Calf Euthanized After Being Put In Car By Tourists.

In 2016, footage of a bison calf strapped into the trunk of a car in Yellowstone National Park went viral. The two tourists who picked up the baby buffalo were reportedly worried the animal was cold and needed to be rescued from the elements. This despite the fact that the temperatures for that day ranged between 39 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit, relatively temperate for Yellowstone.

After loading the bison into their trunk, the two drove it to a nearby ranger station. Their actions were widely ridiculed online as textbook examples of extreme anthropomorphism and stupidity.

Their stupidity would be even more funny if not for the fact that the bison calf had to sadly be euthanized due to their stupidity.

“Park rangers tried repeatedly to reunite the newborn bison calf with the herd. These efforts failed.

The bison calf was later euthanized because it was abandoned and causing a dangerous situation by continually approaching people and cars along the roadway.”

#2 –  Florida Woman Burns Down World’s Oldest Cypress Tree While Smoking Meth Inside Of It.

This maybe should have been #1 just for the use of meth alone, but since meth is one of the most commonly enjoyed outdoor recreation activities in Florida, she gets the benefit of the doubt. Even if she was just smoking a cigarette for the purposes of this story, she still would have made the list, but the fact that it’s meth makes the tale even more poetic.

In January of 2012, Sara Barnes reportedly climbed inside the hollowed out trunk of a 3,500 year old cypress tree after the park had closed for the night. Once inside of the ancient tree, Barnes and friend began to smoke a little meth as people tend to do when the sun goes down in Florida.

The meth pipe wasn’t enough to keep the two women warm though, so they started a fire within the confines of the hollow tree.

A breeze then coasted down the trunk of the 125 foot hollow tree and fanned the flames, turning the 5th oldest tree in the world, and the world’s oldest cypress tree, into the worlds biggest chimney. Firefighters arrived on the scene but could only watch as the historic tree was reduced to a 20 foot stump thanks to the meth fueled shenanigans of two idiots.

Barnes was sentenced to 30-months in prison for the incident. Since then she has subsequently been arrested for smoking meth while driving and been charged with trafficking methamphetamine.

#3 – Three Men Banned From Yellowstone For Cooking Chicken Dinner In Thermal Geyser.

So this might actually also qualify as the smartest thing anyone has ever tried to do in a National Park. But I guess since the Park Service punished them, we’ll count it as one of the dumbest.

In August of 2020, three men visited Yellowstone National Park and attempted to fry some chicken in a thermal geyser. A park ranger was alerted to a group with cooking pots in a tourist area, and it was discovered that the group had two whole chickens marinating in a burlap sack they had thrown into a boiling hot spring.

Yellowstone is home to hundreds of thermal features and geysers, with average water temperatures ranging from 180 – 196 degrees Fahrenheit. Thats hot enough to kill people, and to fry chicken.

Eric and Dallas Roberts were reportedly ordered to serve two days in jail and pay $540 in fines and fees for their part in the incident. The third man, Eric Romriell, 49, paid $1,250 in fines and fees.

The men were also apparently banned from Yellowstone for two years.

#4 – Drunk Man In Short Shorts Taunts Buffalo In The Middle Of Traffic, Gets Charged.

With enough liquid courage, people can feel invincible enough to do anything – including tussle with 2,000-pound bull bison.

In 2018, an Oregon man was sentenced to 130 days in jail for drunkenly harassing a bison that had stopped traffic on a Yellowstone National Park roadway.

Raymond Reinke reportedly justified his drunken behavior by stating that he and a buddy were on a road trip to celebrate “one last hurrah” before he entered an alcohol treatment program.

After his 15 minutes of fame from the viral video was up, he was sentenced to 60 days in jail for harassing wildlife, 60 days for interfering with law enforcement and 10 days for disorderly conduct. He was given credit for 21 days served.

He was also banned from Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Glacier national parks for a five-year probationary period during which he is not allowed to drink alcohol.

Reinke reportedly told the judge”

“I’m sorry to the buffalo. He didn’t deserve what I did to him.”

The judge replied:

“You’re lucky the bison didn’t take care of it, and you’re standing in front of me.”

#5 – Crowd Hangs Out Within A Few Feet Of Bison. Bison Tosses 9-Year-Old Girl Into The Air.

In July of 2019, a huge bull bison was minding its own business and grazing on a hillside in Yellowstone National Park when a group of about 50 tourists got too close for comfort.

According to reports, multiple members of the group repeatedly ventured within 5 to 10 feet of the grazing bull over about a 20 minute timespan. Finally, the bull was bothered enough to do something about it and it charged the group.

Unfortunately the buffalo took his frustrations out on a 9-year-old girl who was flung into the air on camera. She was taken to a nearby lodge with minor injuries and subsequently sent on her way.

#6 – Idiot Tourist Approaches Mother Grizzly And Her Cubs.

Earlier this year, an idiot tourist casually approached arguably the deadliest animal in North America and it almost went horribly wrong.

The Yellowstone visitor casually strolled right up to a mother grizzly bear and her cubs hoping to snap a picture. She was promptly bluff charged by the angry mama bear, who came within just steps of absolutely destroying this lady’s vacation.

While she narrowly escaped trouble with the bear, she’s now in trouble with the Park Service who issued a statement indicating the lady’s conduct was being investigated. While the case is on going, there are expected to be legal ramifications for her conduct.

#7 – Woman Gets Jeans Ripped Off By Bison.

Okay this took place at a South Dakota State Park, not a National Park, but we are still going to count it on the list.

In August of 2020, a woman brazenly approached a herd of bison at Custer State Park for an up close photo shoot. She immediately regretted that decision.

She was swiftly gored by one of the beasts, and in the tussle her jeans became entangled in the horns of the bison.

After being swung around by her pants, she was left pant-less on the side of the road while the buffalo ran off with her britches still hanging from its head. Eventually someone was able to retrieve her pants, which still had her set of keys affixed to the belt loop.

#8 – Graffiti Artist Spray Painted Her Instagram Handle All Over Park Property.

Casey Nocket was reportedly banned from all National Parks for 2 years beginning in 2014 after she defaced natural landscapes in seven different national parks by graffitiing large swaths of rock formations with her “art.”

She was particularly easy to track down and arrest, considering each of the graffiti pieces she crafted included her Instagram handle. She also posted pictures of the evidence to her Instagram account.

Crater Lake was just one of the parks that was defaced by the New York City artist known as “Creepy Tings.”

She also drew vandalized Death Valley National Park, as well as Yosemite National Park, and four other parks during a 2-week-long hiking vacation and graffiti rampage.

She intentionally used acrylic paint because she knew it would be difficult to remove.

#9 – Boy Scout Leaders Cheer As They Topple 200-Million-Year-Old Rock Formation.

This one also occurs in a state park, but it was too dumb not to include on this list.

As “leaders” of local Boy Scout troop, you think they would have enough sense to do something this dumb, but I digress.

While visiting Goblin Valley State Park in Utah in October of 2013, two men pushed a boulder down a hill thus destroying a 200-million year old formation.

David Hall and Glen Taylor both dodged jail time, but they were reportedly sentenced to a year of probation and fined heavily. They were also ousted from their leadership position with the Boy Scouts.

They claimed to have done it in to prevent a safety hazard, saying the rock formation was dangerous to hikers despite the fact that it had stood for more than 200 million years without hurting anyone.

The celebratory nature of the video that incriminated them calls that motive into question.

#10 – Vanessa Hudgens Makes Instagram Post About Illegally Defacing Red Rock National Park.

Finally, we round out the list with our celebrity guest miss Vanessa Hudgens.

Hudgens is an actress, singer, and film producer most well known for her role in the High School Musical series and a variety of roles since then.

On Valentines Day 2016, she also went down in history in the long line of people to criminally deface federal property when she carved her and her boyfriends name into a rock with a heart, and posted it to instagram.

The incident took place at Coconino National Forest (close enough to a park for this list) and Hudgens was reportedly fined $1,000 for the incident.

“She was caught in the act because she publicized it and she’s famous. I’m sure there are others who are not famous and publicized it and we’ve never known.”

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