August 26th, 2010

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Yellowstone Con: Teh Drama!

Monday, 8/16, was our first full day in the park. We were still working out our routine so we didn't get out of the cabin until after 10. The line to get into the park was horrendous! We eventually made our way to the nice ranger who took our money. Hopefully things would go more smoothly in the coming days since there was a special lane for people who already had their passes which were good for a week. We could see, however, that there were many retards who couldn't read the "No questions!" sign in that line. I was also amazed to see a few people who actually brought their motorhomes from Europe! That must have cost a pretty penny!

The plan for the day was to cover all of the major attractions along the SW leg of the giant figure 8 that the road system makes in the park. We would end up at Old Faithful.

The day proceeded very nicely. We hit all of the major hot spring/geyser features along the route. Crowds were very bad and parking was a nightmare, but we managed. Finding a picnic spot was also a challenge even at 2pm, but once again we were able to find the last spot. Finally by late afternoon we made our way to Old Faithful. We were lucky enough to get there right before an eruption. It was then decided to put on the fursuits and wait for the next eruption. This is where the drama happened.

I put on Sabot and Scritch put on his wolf. We made our way to the sign that says "Old Faithful Geyser" and had our picture taken. Of course other families thought it was great and wanted their pictures as well. A few rangers walked by and laughed. Kitty asked if there was any problem and they told her "no." One old curmudgeon of a ranger, however, decided to throw cold water on the whole thing. He informed Kitty that what we were doing was against Park rules and that we had to stop immediately especially since we didn't have a permit. When she asked who we needed to see about getting a permit he couldn't tell her. When she asked where we needed to go to get a permit, he couldn't tell her. He demanded that we de-suit right then and there. When she told him that there were little kids around and that it would "ruin the magic" (not in those terms) he told her quite bluntly "I don't care!" So as not to cause a scene, we immediately left. He followed us to our cars and stated writing down license plate numbers. He told us that we would be ticketed and fined if we were seen in suit again. Finally I got out of suit and got into his face. I demanded to know what rule we were supposedly violating. He couldn't answer. I wanted to talk to somebody immediately about all of this. He then half-threatened to call law enforcement who would tell me what rule I was breaking. I said, "Good! Call law enforcement! I want to know the rules!" He fumbled with his radio and gave the excuse that he couldn't reach them. He would have to call them on the phone. I told him that I would be waiting right there by the car. We waited, but nobody ever showed up. I could see that I was making dexter_fox very nervous since he didn't want to spend the night in jail, but I knew that we were being given a snow job. I headed off to the visitors' center to either track down the ranger or find his superior.

I talked to another ranger at the visitor's center who said that what we were doing was perfectly legal but generally frowned upon since it made it look like we were sanctioned by the Park Service. I told him that it was understandable but we make absolutely no pretense that we are anything but a bunch of kooks who like to dress up in animal costumes. He also gave me a form to fill out to file a formal complaint against the old ranger. That form got put in the mail today. I really hope he gets transferred to Death Valley in the Summer.

Jumping ahead a bit, but the next day I talked with a couple more rangers at the Mammoth Hot Springs visitors' center (since it was right next to the park headquarters) and inquired as to where one might get a fursuiting permit. They put me in touch with a public affairs person who once again told me that it was perfectly legal to wear a bear suit as long as I didn't try to interact with real bears. LOL WUT?!? Obviously someone in the past had wanted to wear a bear suit to see how real bears would react. I assured her that while I was crazy, I was not insane! I now had a name to use in case any other over-zealous ranger wanted to create policy on the spot.

So while I didn't get a pic in front of an erupting Old Faithful, I at least got a pic by the sign. I made a few families happy although there were many more who wanted pics as we walked back to our vehicles who we had to tell "No. Sorry." So on the one paw it is once again best to have permission to do it beforehand, but on the other paw you shouldn't need to get permission to do it legally in a public place simply because someone wants you to "respect his authoriteh" even though he has no authoriteh. It's very similar to railfans who are told by police that they can't photograph trains from public places due to national security. It's completely bogus.

Here are some pics of the incident (thanks to Albear for his mad photo journalism skillz!)



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