Wildlife and Visitor Safety Education

Most visitors to Yellowstone hope to see geysers, hot springs, and the park’s incredible wild animals. With ever-increasing visitation, wildlife related traffic jams, and unsafe visitor behavior, Yellowstone staff are having to work harder than ever to help people enjoy the park safely.

The park’s Wildlife and Visitor Safety Education program aims to preserve wildlife in their natural habitat while educating visitors on how to safely and respectfully view the park’s wild animals. Dedicated National Park Service rangers help ensure vital information is relayed to park visitors that protects them and the wildlife they encounter.

With your help, Yellowstone Forever supports the work of these rangers who provide parkwide, onsite visitor services in the form of wildlife safety education, informal education/interpretation, and assistance with traffic congestion.

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Project Overview

As the number of visitors to the park increases, more people are coming into closer proximity with wildlife. National Park Service rangers are the boots on the ground managing the interactions between wildlife and visitors, many of whom have had no experience around truly wild animals. The park is experiencing increasingly frequent wildlife jams that cause massive traffic congestion and gridlock. Of equal concern is the frequency of visitors getting too close to bison, bears, and elk. Unfortunately, serious injuries occur, and occasionally, fatalities.

In 2023 alone, park service rangers issued 63,676 warnings that included infractions such as approaching wildlife too closely, attempting to feed wildlife, disturbing natural behavior, improper food storage, and more. 

Through this program Park Rangers:

– Provide education and information at critical locations where wildlife and visitors interact in close proximity.

– Inform visitors about bear, wolf, elk, and other large mammal habituation, thus preserving the wild nature of these iconic animals.

– Enhance visitor safety by providing programs on proper food storage, the carrying and safe and effective use of bear spray, hiking and camping in bear country, etiquette when viewing wildlife, wildlife safety “best practices”, and wildlife natural history and management.

– Reduce and prevent visitor/wildlife injuries and property damage.

– Reduce and prevent disturbance of normal wildlife foraging and other natural patterns of behavior that may cause stress to individual animals or herds.

Take the Yellowstone Pledge

The National Park Service works hard to protect Yellowstone and we need your help. A great way to start is by taking the Yellowstone Pledge. It’s a personal promise you make to yourself and the park. It can be taken anywhere: it doesn’t need to be taken out loud or in front of anyone. Tag #YellowstonePledge and encourage others to do the same.

I pledge to protect Yellowstone National Park. I will act responsibly and safely, set a good example for others, and share my love of the park and all the things that make it special.