(WTAJ) – The National Park Service (NPS) has sound advice for hikers and campers looking to keep themselves and their friends safe in the coming months. “If you come across a bear, never push a slower friend down,” NPS tweeted. “Even if you feel the friendship has run its course.”
The silly advice from the NPS comes just ahead of spring, when bears generally emerge from their dens after hibernation. Not to leave followers hanging, the agency followed up with a link to an online resource where visitors can learn how to stay safe in the event of a bear encounter.
In typical social media fashion, however, there was no shortage of responses to the initial tweet.
“What if you’re the slower friend?” one Twitter user asked.
The NPS didn’t mince words with the reply. “Check in on the friendship before you head out to the woods,” the service wrote.
The tips on the NPS site, meanwhile, may prove more useful to park visitors this spring. Among their top suggestions, the agency advises that visitors travel or hike in groups; pick up their children after spotting a bear; make themselves appear larger; and “do NOT run,” lest they risk triggering a predatory reaction from the bear.
Attacks are rare, NPS said, but they do happen. In the event of a grizzly attack, the NPS advises playing dead. In the event of a black bear attack, visitors should try to get away and/or fight back by hitting the bear with anything they can in the muzzle/nose area. The NPS also urges all park visitors to avoid any bears with cubs and not come between the cubs and their mothers.
Taking a can of bear spray along on hikes can help too, according to the NPS. More helpful tips and suggestions can be found at the official NPS website.