A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

App-ing Your Way around Yellowstone


I thought one of the joys of visiting the great national parks was to leave our technobabble behind – at least for a few hours.

Silly me!

On your next trip to Yellowstone, you can concentrate on your cellphone rather than on the life around you. According to a new report:

New smartphone apps enable people to pinpoint where they’ve recently seen critters in Yellowstone. People who drive to those locations can — at least in theory — improve their odds of seeing wildlife compared to the typical tourist’s dumb luck.

One app called Where’s a Bear promises “up to the second” animal sightings in Yellowstone. Recently a website called Yellowstone Wildlife began offering a similar app.

So now we have visitors glued to their phones to check out the latest sightings so they can all make a beeline in their cars and motorhomes to where a bear might be hanging out. Literally hundreds of people can suddenly be found converging on some location where there’s been a sighting.

“It’s crazy. There’s no parking. People sideswipe each other because they’re looking at the bear,” [Vicky] Kraft [who maintains a Facebook group for Yellowstone] said Monday.

Wildlife becoming too comfortable around people is another concern. A grizzly habituated to people is even more dangerous than your average bear.

“I think there’s a responsibility that a person should have if they really like Yellowstone to say, ‘Gee, is this going to be bad for the animals? Is it bad for the ranger? Is it bad for the park?’ And I think when you look at a situation with that app, the answer would have to be yes,” Kraft said.