Tourons in Yellowstone – a potential solution?

(For those who don’t know it, the word ‘touron’ is an amalgamation of ‘tourist’ and ‘moron’.  It’s a fitting description of most of those portrayed in the video clips below, IMHO.)

We’ve already seen more than one incident where tourons at Yellowstone National Park learned the hard way that bison are not pets.

And, back in 2015, a touron actually wrote to the administration about their lack of trained bears.

Now comes news that the park is nearing its capacity for vehicles and visitors.  (Some would say it’s already exceeded its capacity in practical terms.)

I have a suggestion.  Why not operate a lottery?  Every vehicle entering the park should be allocated a number.  Every hour, one number will be drawn at random, and the occupants of that vehicle get introduced to bison and bears at halitosis range.  In exchange for the injuries and deaths that will undoubtedly result, they get to park for free.  The other tourons get to watch and take pictures . . . until the next drawing, an hour later, when they may find themselves providing the entertainment.

I reckon that wouldn’t take long to reduce tourist overcrowding quite satisfactorily, don’t you?



  1. Don't forget the idjit who went skinny-dipping in a boiling pool of acid.

    Maybe we should advertise it as "Yellowstone – The Darwin Experience!"

  2. One of the sons lived in Cody and did guided kayak tours in Yellowstone. Said one of his ranger buddies told him about a tourist posing his 5 year old next to a bison for that perfect vacation shot. As the ranger was writing his ticket, the tourist explained that there should be no problem at all because the government wouldn't allow wild animals in the park.

  3. One way to end this is stop turning national parks like Yellowstone into semi-rustic disneylands. No lodges or cabins – tent camping only. No paved roadways – gravel and dirt. No playground equipment. Standard park pit toilets with no showers. No hand holding tour guides. No gift shops or restaurants or wifi or electricity. That's one reason why it costs so much to run the national park system. They're running disneyland with trees and bears on the taxpayer's dime.

  4. As a pledge we were to go gather 5 pounds of buffalo chips for the brothers from the local buffalo farm. It's wasn't a problem because we went where the buffalo had been, not where they were.

    Afterwards I met the farm manager and he told me you can herd a buffalo anywhere the buffalo wants to go. All their vehicles were beat up wrecks from bison versus truck interactions.

    There was a private golf course next to one of the pastures and every year some golfer climbed the fence to retrieve their errant shot. It always ended poorly for the human. Luckily buffalo don't seem to want to finish anyone off.


  5. I'm not sure you've thought your crowd control idea all the way through. There are only so many bears resident in parks like Yellowstone; they're bound to get full long before we sufficiently thin out the touron herds.

  6. May I suggest, that as part of the contractual lottery process, after the adventurers become bear and bison poop, their vehicle and belongings be made available for purchase through a daily auction with the proceeds split 50-50 between surviving family members, if any, and the park's operational fund.

  7. My brother had a Yellowstone story like that. He spent a lot of time hiking there and for a few years did land conservation work around the park. He was fishing one day. There was a bison over in a field, but they were far enough apart that the bison was unaware of him over in the river. Well along comes a minivan of tourons. The man jumps out, starts approaching the bison to get a photo. My brother warned him, but the guy finally gets within range of the bison's awareness. It chases they guy back to the van, around the van, the guy busts his face when he fall on the door sill of the minivan. The tourons drive off with the bison running alongside goring the van.

    My brother's pissed because now he has to take a long way around to get to his car.

  8. "Tourist Save" signs:

    Animals are Wild
    Not meek and mild
    They won't hug and greet you,
    But will stomp and eat you.
    Stay in your car
    View from afar
    Keep food away,
    Live another day!

    Tourist Save

    We volunteer at a popular eastern National Park that's overrun with tourists and beyond capacity – similar problems. No large predators, but many dang tourists on trails wearing flip-flops, no water, no map, no compass or GPS, etc. We've rescued a bunch and sent them back to trail heads and parking with spare maps, water, directions. Many visitors are clueless about the real world and how fast weather can change, let alone being prepared for wild animal encounters. Cell phones don't work in many park areas, because of remoteness or occluded line of sight to towers.

    Put reservation limits on and turn away casual traffic if the park is at 80% of parking spot capacity.

    Get them watching something besides cartoons or rural fantasy movies.

  9. It's all fun and games until the brown bears ransack a vehicle carrying cocaine …

    [cue Cocaine Bear memes] 🙂

  10. I think we could make it a little more Darwinian if we charged for your proposed lottery. That way it would allow people to self select for membership in the "More Money Than Sense" club.

    When you enter the park, you're told that for an additional $5, you can enter a lottery for an "Up Close and Personal" photo session with dangerous wildlife. You're told it is almost safe, but that the park is not responsible for anything that happens.

  11. We used to own the Bill Cody Ranch, a dude ranch just outside Yellowstone. One day a customer drove up, with a busted-off buffalo horn sticking out of the side of their minivan. They had stopped for the usual buffalo traffic jam, opened the side door and took a picture. The flash triggered a buffalo who decided to attack the minivan, so he rammed it. They just managed to get the side door shut before he hit the van.

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