A recent article in the Jackson Hole Daily features a young man from Germany who decided to drive from Salt Lake City to Yellowstone National Park. He set the locations in his GPS unit and hit the road. Unfortunately, the GPS lead him onto closed Grassy Lake Road in Yellowstone, where he proceeded to drive until he almost ran out of gas and eventually got stuck. Luckily the man was able to walk 15 miles in 7 hours through the snow while wearing sneakers, trousers, a T-shirt and light jacket. He made his way to the Flagg Ranch and was able to break in and get help. He is now forced to pay the $900 to fix the door or else face criminal charges.
My reaction to this event is simply "how foolish." This story brings up the dangers of heavy reliance upon GPS navigation systems, and the false sense of security they provide. It also leads one to wonder, where was his common sense? GPS units are great and handy, but whether you are in a car and headed to a remote location or on foot in the backcountry, GPS cannot act as a brain. Venturing to areas like Yellowstone, especially in the winter, requires planning, preparation and a certain level of education. Who comes here from another country and spontaneously decides to drive from SLC to Yellowstone with no equipment or preparation? Just plain silly. Hard to have sympathy here. What do you think?