“People Feel So Entitled These Days”: Fed-up Hiker Calls Out Parkgoer for Ignoring Rules at National Park

By: Alyssa Miller | Published: Jul 08, 2024

As the summer months roll around, more and more people are flocking to their nearest national parks to enjoy the beauty that nature has to offer. However, some are taking their enjoyment too far by breaking or ignoring the rules.

In a recent Instagram post, a clip of a woman managing a leashed dog while flying a drone sparked outrage on the social media site.

Breaking the Rules

A parkgoer at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah shared a video with the Tourons of National Parks of a woman flying a drone while managing her dog on a leash.

A drone view of the canyons of Bryce Canyon National Park

Source: Wikimedia Commons

She navigates the drone high above the beautiful red canyons, unique to the geology of this part of the United States, often stepping around her dog to keep an eye on the drone.

Ignoring the Rules to the ‘Gram

“Double whammy from Bryce,” the video is captioned. “When I passed her on [the] trail, I let her know about the rules for drones and dogs but she didn’t care.”

A close-up of a smartphone screen displaying an array of colorful social media and communication app icons, including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Spotify. Notification badges indicate unread messages and updates

Source: Sara Kurfeß/Unsplash

Drones and dogs are generally not allowed in national parks for several reasons, primarily for the safety and preservation of wildlife. While not everyone may know this when entering the park, blatantly disregarding someone informing you that it is illegal is a problem.

The Ban of Drones

Although staff can use drones in national parks to ensure the safety and protection of visitors, staff, and wildlife, recreational drone use is prohibited and can result in fines of up to $5,000 or six months in jail.

A man is pictured setting up hs drone

Source: Freepik

The National Park Service (NPS) enacted the drone ban in June 2014, citing safety concerns for all living creatures within the parks.

Knowing the Rules Around Dogs

The NPS rules regarding dogs are something every pet owner should be aware of before bringing their furry friends on vacation. While some parks permit dogs in developed areas like trails and campgrounds, many do not allow pets for specific reasons.

Two dark grey pitbulls run together at a large park

Source: Matthew Smith/Unsplash

Bryce Canyon National Park only allows dogs on paved roads because they can chase, scare, or spread disease to wildlife, disrupting the park’s delicate ecosystem.

Outrage Online

Many social media users took to the comment section of the video to vent about the behavior of the woman with the drone and dog. One user wrote, “A dog and a drone. This person really likes breaking laws and disrespecting National Parks.”

A large arch formation made of red rock with a number of tourists walking around the base

Source: Joshua Sukoff/Unsplash

“People feel so entitled these days,” another commented. “We definitely need to ramp up the ability/funding for rangers to enforce the rules in the parks.”


Know the Rules 

While tourists may not be aware of these rules before venturing into the park (which means ignoring the large signs typically at the trail entrance), park officials often issue warnings before handing out fines.

A sign for the National Park Service on a brick entryway

Source: iStock

However, the behavior of this visitor at Bryce Canyon National Park could have negatively impacted the surrounding wildlife. And she isn’t the only one.


Many Influencers Are Breaking NPS Rules

A quick scroll through Tourons of National Parks showcases the number of people blatantly disregarding the rules meant to keep wildlife and visitors safe in national parks. Often, these rules are ignored for the sake of social media posts.

An image of a social media influencer videoing herself in a park

Source: Freepik

People who step off the paths, fly drones, or bring predator species (yes, that includes your dog and cat) are invading, disturbing, and destroying the natural habitat that park officials strive to protect.


The Danger to Nature and Themselves

What is most disturbing about this behavior is how humans are treating the natural world, disregarding any understanding of it as they endanger themselves and nature for a picture or a video.

A large black bear standing in tall grass with a large mountain behind it

Source: Danika Perkinson/Unsplash

This recklessness from tourists can also inhibit others from connecting with nature. While park rangers are trying to do their jobs, some people have taken to publicly shaming those who disregard the rules.


The Shame Accounts 

Instagram accounts like Tourons of National Parks and Public Lands Hate You call out influencers who carelessly destroy natural lands by veering off NPS-designed paths to take a cool photo.

Thumb Down in Spotlight

Source: Unsplash

These accounts not only publicly shame influencers but also help initiate investigations with the NPS to ban these misbehaving influencers from the parks.


The Effect of Influencers 

“You have got these influencers who have access to 100,000 people. They are posting things that I don’t think they even think about what the impact of that picture could be,” the owner of Public Lands Hate You, told the Guardian.

Woman Influencer Recording Video On Camera

Source:Los Muertos Crew/Pexels

“And there’s an exponential effect. People keep posting and posting and posting.”


Everyone Is Watching

“Illegal activities posted by individuals on social media platforms have led to investigations and prosecutions by law enforcement,” Kathy Kupers, a spokeswoman for the NPS, confirmed in an email to the Guardian.

A close up of a NPS patch on a park ranger

Source: Joshua Tree National Park/Flickr

So the next time you think about stepping off the designed path to take a cool picture with nature for your socials, remember that the NPS, Instragam shame accounts and the local authorities are watching you.