Safety in the Parks/Seguridad en los Parques

Safety in the Parks

The reason that this category is included on the website is because many people think that parks could be dangerous because they have never visited a park.   Just like driving a car or crossing the street, parks are safe as long as you take some basic precautions and become familiar with what could be dangerous.

Wild Animals

Many people have seen or heard of the show When Animals Attack and thus think that all animals are waiting to attack people in the woods or ocean.  Seems logical based on the show. 

What is not emphasized is that most animals are very afraid of humans and that they generally attack people because they are scared, defending their territory or are defending themselves and their babies from the scary humans.  Here are the critters that are most often asked about.


Think about a rattlesnake.  It is laying on a trail trying to warm up after hibernating all winter and along comes a human that is not paying attention to where it is walking.  The snake thinks the human is going to step on it or intentionally try and hurt it so it uses its rattle as a warning.  Hey human!  I am down here.  Don’t step on me!


Bears can be the same way.  Bears do not see well so it is easy to scare them.  Mother bears will also protect their cubs if a human comes too close.  Makes sense.  So when in bear country, take precautions and make noise so you don’t accidentally scare a bear.  Also, check with a park ranger to find out about bear activity in the area so you can avoid a confrontation.  Here is a good website for how to travel in bear country

Other animals

Use common sense when seeing an animal.  That means do not feed it.  Once an animal becomes accustomed to human food it stops looking for its natural food and becomes dependant on us.  Sometimes this ends in disaster for the animal because it becomes a problem by getting too close to humans and it has to be killed to keep people safe.

Do not get too close to the animal because it just might surprise you as seen in this video

Humans invented binoculars and cameras with zoom lenses.  That way we do not have to get too close to dangerous situations.  Please use these inventions to your advantage.

People and Crime


Is there crime in the parks?  Sure, just like any other place where there are a lot of people.  Is there a disproportionate amount of crime? No.  So, think like you are in the city, take precautions to keep your possessions safe by locking them up out of site in your car.

Other human issues

If you encounter a problem with another person, you have park personnel that you can rely upon.  The first is the campground host who lives in their trailer at your campground.  They will help you out in case of emergency.  The second person available to help out is the park ranger who is a licensed police officer.

Please remember that most people visiting a park are there with their families and friends to enjoy their vacation.  Yes, everyone is sleeping in close quarters seeing as tents are located close to each other but people respect each other’s space or campground site and don’t wander through.


Just like at home, be careful with fire, it burns.  Most forest fires are set by humans.  In 2006, 83% of forest fires were caused by human activity.  Make sure that the campfire is completely out before going to bed.  The following guidelines are provided by the U.S. Forest Service

Video in Spanish about Smokey Bear

Getting Lost

Sometimes we get lost.  Many people have gotten lost driving a car in unfamiliar territory but unlike the city, there will be no gas station in the woods to ask for directions.  In the event you lose the trail and get really lost in the woods, you should bring a whistle so you can call for help.  Also, each child should have their own whistle in case they get lost.  This is not a license to make your own trail.

Food Safety

Getting sick from your own food when camping  is preventable.  The following links from the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service and the Minnesota Department of Health will help you keep your food safe to eat.