NPS Cuts Loose: Friends Don't Let Friends Get Eaten By Bears

 Who Would've Thought That Park Rangers Could Actually Be Fu nny? ...Hello? ...Anyone? Hello??  Katmai Park Bear (Described By NPS ...

 Who Would've Thought That Park Rangers Could Actually Be Funny? ...Hello? ...Anyone? Hello?? 

Katmai Park Bear (Described By NPS As "Thinking Bear Things") On Facebook Posting. (August 5th, 2020)


The U.S. National Park Service, which isn't known for its riotous sense of humor, seems to be cutting loose during the coronavirus pandemic – and allowing a little lightheartedness to seep into the Park Service's otherwise stringent world of rules. 

While the rest of the world was pretty free and easy, before the virus hit, the National Park Service had dozens of mandates going.
You could do this. You couldn't do that...

But now – as the rest of us deal with a new reality of caution – the Park Service is cutting loose a bit.

Up to this point, the funniest thing about NPS was probably the Dudley Do-Right Ranger Hat that all rangers are supposed to put on before venturing into any "formal" encounter with the public. (Of course, Dudley Do-Right was actually a Mountie – but you get the picture.)

Recently, the National Park Service has revealed that deep in the bowels of that organization are actual people – and that they have a real-people sense of humor that's somehow being allowed to burst out every so often right now, kind of like a geiser at Yosemite.

We first saw it this spring in the Copper Valley, when our (admittedly highly amusing) map of Copper River Country, made for the Country Journal by our cartoonist, David Mudrick, attracted the attention of Wrangell-St. Elias Park.

NPS Ranger Mike Townsend, over in Copper Center, asked David Mudrick for permission to put the cartoon map on their Facebook page.



SOCIAL DISTANCING WITH BEARS, MOOSE & BISON
The first sign that NPS, as a national organization, was headed somewhere else came in May this year, when the Park Service let out this "official" poster. Keeping a distance from wildlife is a common theme for NPS, and they have made a number of more direct – and somewhat boring – posters in the past. But this year...



That poster was a big hit, so NPS followed it up a month later, nationally, with this one:


Dudley Do-Right (Wikipedia)

"You Don't Have To Run Faster Than The Bear To Get Away. You Just Have To Run Faster Than The Guy Next To You"

Then, this month, the Park Service took it even farther, discussing the never-ending issue of bear safety on Facebook in a play on the old joke that the slowest runner loses in a bear encounter. For a National Park Service post this is actually humorous.

During normal times, of course, rangers have regular 9-to-5 jobs. But this posting – with its references to "slower friends" and "opposable thumbs" looks like it was written (probably at home) in the middle of the night, by an actual human being. It was finally posted at 5 am in the morning on August 5th, and has been hugely popular, winning the admiring notice of people around the world: 




Keeping Your Distance Down Under

Apparently, it's not just the U.S. National Park Service that's taking advantage of a little flexible creativity while working at home and giving into a desire to amuse while talking about serious subjects. Australian authorities are doing the same thing:


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