Wildlife and Visitor Safety Education Programs

Visitor and Wildlife Safety Education

Managing the coexistence of people and wildlife in Yellowstone is more important than ever before. This project, funded in part by Yellowstone Forever donors, provides support for vital safety education.

NPS / Jacob W. Frank

Yellowstone Forever’s members and corporate partners help fund much of Yellowstone’s crucial safety and education programming for visitors. These safety demonstrations and measures ensure that all in the park—humans and animals—can coexist without harm.

Ongoing need for education

There are millions of visitors that come to the park each year, each with a unique set of experiences. While have extensive histories hiking and camping in the backcountry, many have never stepped foot in bear country! Yellowstone’s rangers, funded in part by Yellowstone Forever donors, are responsible for funding ongoing education to park visitors about everything from bear spray to safe hiking and camping practices, from proper food storage to the appropriate distance to maintain between you and wildlife.

The Visitor and Wildlife Safety Education program, administered by the Resource Education and Youth Programs Division, strives to educate visitors about wildlife safety and natural history thereby reducing injuries, preventing fatalities, and helping to maintain wildlife in their natural habitat.

Adapting to the time and place

What makes Yellowstone’s Visitor Safety and Education programs unique is that they don’t only occur at set times and locations (although that does happen). Year’s of meticulous data collection and experience have show that often education must happen at the site of a bison jam or a heavily trafficked wildlife spotting. Rangers provide the necessary information to ensure wildlife and visitors stay safe and learn from these interactions.

In 2018 Yellowstone’s rangers provided:

  • 1,338 or approximately 167 work days of assistance at animal jams.
  • At those animal jams rangers were in contact with 73,709 vistors
  • Contacted 23,156 visitors during rove duty
  • Presented 153 hours of formal ranger-led programs to 5,088 visitors
  • 25,238 Resource Warnings given for food storage, being too close to animals, disturbing wildlife, etc.

How your support helps

Hundreds of thousands of visitors would not get key safety and resource protection messages without the support of Yellowstone Forever donors. These programs continue to test a variety of techniques and messages, contributing to the body of knowledge about the effective management of people around wildlife. As Yellowstone moves forward the park sees a greater need for staffing in the Mammoth Hot Springs area during elk calving season. Your support will help ensure visitor and wildlife safety messages are shared with visitors year round, including this key time period.

Support Visitor and Wildlife Safety Education