How national parks use social media to track down criminals | Wyoming News


Tourists witness the Old Faithful eruption in Yellowstone National Park on April 29, Wyoming. Social media platforms have become a tool to help parks track down those who break the rules.

Kayla Renie, Jackson Hole News and Guide

Evan Robinson-Johnson Jackson Hole News & Guide Via Wyoming News Exchange

Sandwiched between staff promotion and visitation advice, Yellowstone National Park’s Instagram page features a screenshot of a video taken by park visitor Darcie Addington.

In the image, which has been liked over 50,000 times and likely seen by a good chunk of the park’s 1.2 million followers, an unidentified woman is seen fleeing a grizzly bear that charged her on May 10 on Roaring Mountain parking lot. Fortunately, a lot of the comments read, the bear was only bluffing.

“She’s lucky to be alive,” wrote photographer Mark D’Almeida.

The message, said park spokeswoman Linda Veress, was designed to promote a public safety message: stay away from bears.

The safe distance is 100 meters, but many recommend an even larger radius, as bear behavior can be unpredictable. The safest viewing is inside vehicles.

The image of the woman on the run is also accompanied by a caption asking members of the public to contact by phone, email or an online counseling line if they know her.

The unidentified woman is far from the only face sought after in the streams of the national park. Parks across the country dot their social media accounts with calls ranging from negligent hikers to sex abusers being investigated by the National Park Service Investigative Services Branch, which operates much like the FBI.


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