THERE ARE TIMES WHEN TOURISTS are just stupid. When tourists inadvertently cause the death of a bison calf in an attempt to save it, that’s well-meaning stupidity. When tourists knock over and destroy a 126-year-old statue while attempting to take a selfie, that’s selfish stupidity. But it’s relatively rare that we see tourists behaving… well, evil.
There’s a famous geological feature in Oregon’s Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area known as “the Duckbill.” It stood for 18 million years. You’ll notice I’m using the past tense: the Duckbill is no longer standing. On August 29th, it fell. Oregon State Parks thought that it fell as a result of natural processes, and posted that, “the rubble serves as a sobering reminder of the ever present dangers of our fragile coastal rocks and cliffs.”
They wanted to post this reminder because tourists have a habit of climbing over the safety fence around it and taking pictures on top of it. Which ultimately is what led to its destruction.
Park-goer David Kalas took this video of the event:
— David Kalas (@DavidKalas) August 30, 2016
Kalas confronted the men who tipped the ancient feature over, and reported the following:
“The first thing that came out of his mouth was that, oh his buddy broke his leg on it and it was a safety hazard and they were doing everybody a favor by knocking it down, you know which frustrated me because nobody forced them to climb on top of the rock.”
Oregon State Parks has since posted, “The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, in cooperation with the Oregon State Police, will review the incident immediately and decide how best to respond. The department takes vandalism of a state park’s natural features seriously.”
The maximum penalty, according to Treehugger, is a $435 dollar fine.
Nature can be dangerous. By the vandals rationale, the Grand Canyon is a “safety hazard” and is worthy of destruction. But there’s nothing more profoundly stupid than taking revenge against an inanimate object, especially when the friend you’re avenging shouldn’t have been on top of it in the first place. Nature belongs to all of us. If you hurt yourself doing something dumb, be a decent enough human being to take responsibility for it.
2016 has been the year of the dumb tourist. But — while it may still be early — I think we can safely call these assholes the Worst Tourists on Earth.