The United States of America is home to almost 400 different nationally protected areas. These areas include national historical sites, national monuments, national forests, and national parks. The current number of national parks in America is 58. National parks are full of beauty and splendor. The landscapes are extremely breathtaking. National parks are embedded with natural formations that are truly amazing. The striking sceneries offer spectators’ both peace and tranquility. National parks also present visitors with a variety of outdoor activities. Guests of national parks can experience camping, hiking, biking, backpacking, fishing, rock climbing, and picnicking, along with a wide variety of winter sports. Many spectators flock to national parks just for a chance to encounter some of the wildlife. Bears are typically the most popular animal that park visitors hope to encounter.
The most common type of bear in national parks is the black bear. There are 80 different black bear species. Black bears are between 5 to 6 feet tall when they stand on their back legs. The average weight of females is 250 to 300 pounds. Males can weigh between 300 and 400 pounds. Their color includes variations of black, brown, and cinnamon. In the wild, black bears have a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years. The diet for a black bear consists mostly of berries and plants, although they do eat meat. They are very smart animals. Black bears possess a keen sense of smell and hearing. Black bears normally feed during the day. They are not considered aggressive, unless they are provoked. When black bears are aggravated, they can become extremely dangerous. Some national parks are also home to grizzly bears. The average weight of a grizzly bear is 200 to 450 pounds for females, and 300 to 850 pounds for males. Their life span in the wild is 12 to 20 years. They are more dynamic during dusk and dawn. Grizzly bears are classified as omnivores, and are much more hostile than black bears.
Bears are the most celebrated, and the most feared animal that visitors experience when they visit national parks. Some national parks have become famous for bear sightings. Yellowstone National Park has a noteworthy reputation for bear sightings. Yellowstone is home to approximately 500 to 650 black bears, and close to 600 grizzly bears. The greatest place to catch a glimpse of a black bear in Yellowstone is Tower Falls, the Lamar Valley, and roads around the Roosevelt Lodge. The best place to catch sight of a grizzly in Yellowstone is between Canyon and Fishing Bridge, and around the Mount Washburn area. Yellowstone had 2,154 bear sightings in 2010 and 1,851 bear sightings in 2011.
During one of my trips to Yellowstone National Park, I was fortunate enough to experience a bear sighting. My family and I were returning from an awesome stagecoach ride in the Pleasant Valley area when we got stuck in some traffic. Since this was not our first trip to the park, we immediately pulled off the road and grabbed our camera gear. Traffic jams within the park normally signify that someone has spotted some major wildlife in the area. Sure enough, about 100 yards off the main road was a black bear and her three cubs. Although I think all wildlife is magnificent to watch, observing bears in the wild is an extraordinary experience. They represent a certain sense of dominance and power. My adrenaline was totally rushing as I moved to get a closer look at the bears. I stood almost frozen, while I watched the mother bear play with her cubs. The event was awesome, and one that I will never forget.
Although bear sightings are extremely awe-inspiring, they can instantly turn into savage attacks and become fatal. There are four main reasons that bears usually attack people. The first reason revolves around sows protecting their cubs. Even if there is no apparent danger, sows will attack if they perceive a threat. The second reason centers on people surprising bears. Bears become aggressive when they are startled or surprised. The third reason that bears attack occurs when humans get too close to the bear’s food supply. Bears become extremely aggressive when protecting their food source. Predatory bear is the fourth reason. Simply stated, sometimes bears prey on humans. Predatory bear attacks are extremely rare. In Yellowstone’s history from 1872 to 2011, only eight people have been killed by bears. In general, bear attacks are uncommon and very unusual.
Yellowstone has implemented several rules and regulations to help prevent bear attacks. Park rangers have installed many warnings signs throughout the park. The signs educate visitors that bears are prone to the area, and they should precede with caution. Rangers suggest that hikers and backpackers travel in groups and stay on marked trails. Hikers and backpackers are encouraged to be noisy in order to reduce the chance of surprising a bear. Rangers also advise carrying bear spray. The spray works in a similar fashion to pepper spray. If attacked, the aerosol can be used to directly spray into the bear’s eyes and throat giving the victim an opportunity to escape. All park visitors are encouraged to dispose of food properly. Campers are urged to store food and toiletries in sealed containers away from camp sites.
Yellowstone National Park is totally awe-inspiring. The grand mountains and splendid waterfalls are spectacular to view. The landscape of the park offers visitors calmness and serenity. Visitors explore the park for several different reasons. One of the main attractions of Yellowstone centers on observing the wildlife of the park. Park goers yearn to catch a glimpse of a black bear or grizzly bear. Spectators are fascinated and enthralled when they actually view a bear in the wild. Observing a bear in their natural habitat is a very exciting, and dangerous experience. Spectators are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the rules and regulations on bear safety when entering the park. Visiting Yellowstone National Park is a wonderful experience that will create life-long memories.