Are You Illiterate, or Just An Asshole?

Bald Eagle Management Area

On the west entrance road at Yellowstone, there is an area clearly marked by many signs: “Bald Eagle management area. Area closed. No stopping, standing, or walking.”

The message couldn't be clearer: Don’t bloody stop here, or you’ll mess things up.

If you look up, you can see one of the nests, and sometimes, sure enough, there is a bald eagle sitting there.

I understand—of all the animals at Yellowstone, what could be more exciting to see than a bald eagle? Apart from the wolves, perhaps, but you’ll win the lottery before you see a wolf from your car.

If you want, you can stop just outside the boundary of the marked area and, from there, look at the eagle’s nest. You can see the damn eagle just fine from there.

And yet, there is always a jackass who stops. There is always a jackass who stops, often in the middle of the road, backing up all the rest of the traffic that is now idling in the restricted zone, as the whole family piles out of the car and stomps into the goddamn woods with their goddamn phones trying to get a picture of a bird a hundred feet up a goddamn tree.

The other “wildlife jams” are merely annoying, with traffic backing up because someone saw an animal 2000 yards out, a speck on the horizon that a Navy SEAL sniper couldn't hit from here; or everyone trying to get a look at the grazing elk or the playful bear or the bison the size of your car who doesn't care if he’s in your way or not—if you don’t like it, just try to move me, I bloody dare you. Annoying, but understandable. It's exciting to see these animals for the first time, or even the tenth.

But this one just pisses me off. It’s not like you can’t see the signs every 20 feet along the road. Someone who knows more about this stuff than you do put them there. You know you’re doing something wrong, but goddamnit, getting a barely discernible picture of an eagle is more important!

I’ve seen people at Yellowstone get arrested for trying to feed a bison. I've seen rangers yell at people to back off and get back in their cars when they get too enthusiastic about getting the bear shot. They need to post someone at this spot and start busting some heads.