Yellowstone comment card shows guest isn't smarter than the average bear

An image that's gone viral shows what's allegedly a visitor's request that the park train its wild bears to make appearances for guests. Why not teach them to juggle and ride unicycles as well?

Danny Gallagher
Danny Gallagher
CNET freelancer Danny Gallagher has contributed to Cracked.com, Mental Floss, Maxim, Break.com, Mandatory, Jackbox Games, Geeks Who Drink and many, many other publications in his never-ending quest to bring the world's productivity to a screeching halt. He lives and works in Dallas. Email Danny.
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"Oh, geez -- another tour bus. Time to do the grizzly shtick again. And I was just about to clock out for the day. Sigh. Never fails."

© Hal Beral/Corbis

You know how restaurants and hotels leave comment cards for their guests inviting customers to "please make any suggestions so that we may improve the level of service we strive to deliver" or something to that effect? Here's a little tip that some people apparently may not know: The cards don't actually mean "any" in its strictest sense. We're talking about waiters and housekeepers, not magicians and wizards.

It would be downright insane for someone who's, say, visiting a national park to expect the wildlife to considerately make an appearance simply to give visitors an interesting sight for their vacation slideshow. However, if a new viral image is to be believed, someone who paid a recent visit to Yellowstone National Park may have thought the rangers could make that happen.

A link to an Imgur account popped up on Reddit this week from someone claiming to be a friend of a Yellowstone employee. The headline: "My friend works at Yellowstone and some guests actually left this with the front desk upon checkout this morning."

The picture on Imgur shows a comment card for the Yellowstone National Park Lodges thanking the staff for a "wonderful" visit but also expressing the guests' disappointment that they "never saw any bears." Then they offer a suggestion for how the staff might be able to work on that for their next visit.

"Please train your bears to be where guests can see them," the note says. "This was an expensive trip to not get to see bears."

That sounds like something that might have come from the cute, creative imagination of a child who's disappointed they didn't get to shake hands with Boo-Boo. However, as you can see in the photo of the note, it clearly wasn't written by a child, or at least not by someone who's a child on the physical level.

Julena Campbell, a park ranger and spokeswoman for Yellowstone, confirmed to Crave that the park won't be able to accommodate the request. She said it's not possible to train the 674 to 839 bears in Yellowstone to buy a Day Planner or have Siri remind them to appear before guests.

"I'll hold back my laughter and say that it's not possible to train bears in Yellowstone National Park," Campbell said. "We do not train bears nor do we intend to try. That's part of what most people enjoy coming to the park for, that they are wild animals. Part of the thrill is that 'aha' or gasp when you happen to see a wild animal being a wild animal."

Campbell said she's only seen the note on the Web and that it hasn't been processed through any of the proper channels or officials at the park. She also said the note hasn't gone through Xanterra Parks and Resorts, the company that manages the park's lodges and hotels. However, she said she's gotten plenty of calls about the note since it went viral.

If anyone is planning on paying a visit to Yellowstone and hopes to see a bear or any other animal in the wild, park rangers can offer advice as to the best and safest spots for potential viewing. Campbell said bears also tend to be more active early in the morning and later in the evening.

She noted, too, that if visitors encounter a bear, they're required by law to stay at least 100 yards away, even if there comes a day when Yellowstone teaches bears how to sign autographs or pose for photos with guests.

"I think most people are getting a good chuckle out of it, and most people realize that it's unrealistic to have bears on demand in a national park," Campbell said. "But if the worst thing that happens is that it gives us a few phone calls and lets us talk about animals and how to safely view them, then it's all in a day's work, I suppose."

(Via UPI)