The Times West Virginian

Community News Network

October 8, 2013

Woman says elderly tourists at Yellowstone forced to stay inside hotel, bus

SALISBURY, Mass. — Pat Vaillancourt went on a trip last week to see some of America’s greatest treasures. Instead, the Salisbury, Mass., resident said she and others on her tour bus witnessed an ugly spectacle in Yellowstone National Park, where tourists were not allowed to leave their hotel rooms or tour bus while inside the shuttered national park.

Vaillancourt was one of thousands of people who found themselves in a national park as the federal government shutdown went into effect on Oct. 1. For many hours, her tour group, which included senior citizen visitors from Japan, Australia, Canada and the United States, was not allowed to leave their park hotel.

The tourists were treated harshly by armed park employees, she said, so much so that some of the foreign tourists with limited English skills thought they were under arrest.

"We've become a country of fear, guns and control," said Vaillancourt. "It was like they brought out the armed forces. Nobody was saying, 'we’re sorry,' it was all like — " as she clenched her fist and banged it against her forearm.

Park spokesman Al Nash told the Livingston (Mont.) Enterprise that when the park is closed, it's closed to all recreational use. The few park staff members who remain are involved in basic health and safety issues.

"We don't have staff on duty to deal with any ordinary operational issues," Nash said last week. 

Vaillancourt recounted one incident in which her tour bus stopped along a road inside the park as a large herd of bison passed, and tourists filed out to take photos. She said an armed ranger came by and ordered them to get back in, saying they couldn't "recreate." The tour guide, who had paid a $300 fee the day before to bring the group into the park, argued that the seniors weren't "recreating," just taking photos.

Text Only
Community News Network
  • Arizona's prolonged lethal injection is fourth in U.S. this year

    Arizona's execution of double-murderer Joseph Wood marked the fourth time this year that a state failed to dispatch a convict efficiently, according to the Constitution Project, a bipartisan legal group.3

    July 24, 2014

  • Police Brutality screen shot. Technology plays key part in battling police brutality (VIDEO)

    Allegations of police brutality are nothing new -- as long as there has been law enforcement, citizens have registered claims that some officers cross the line. But in the last few years, the claims of excessive force are being corroborated with new technology from cell phone cameras, police dash-cams and surveillance videos. 

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Facebook continues moneymaking trend

    Facebook seems to have figured out - for now at least - the holy grail for all media right now: how to make money selling mobile ads.

    July 24, 2014

  • Has the ipad lost its swag?

    July 24, 2014

  • Almost half of America's obese youth don't know they're obese

    The good news is that after decades of furious growth, obesity rates finally seem to be leveling off in the U.S.. The bad news is that America's youth still appear to be dangerously unaware of the problem.

    July 23, 2014

  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    A llama on the lam cruised Main Street Tuesday before it mistook a resident’s fenced backyard for a place to grab a meal and freshen up.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • An oncologist uses scorpion venom to locate cancer cells

    Olson, a pediatric oncologist and research scientist in Seattle, has developed a compound he calls Tumor Paint. When injected into a cancer patient, it seems to light up all the malignant cells so surgeons can easily locate and excise them.

    July 22, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 2.00.42 PM.png VIDEO: Train collides with semi truck carrying lighter fluid

    A truck driver from Washington is fortunate to be alive after driving his semi onto a set of tracks near Somerset, Ky., and being struck by a locomotive, which ignited his load of charcoal lighter fluid.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • mama.jpg What we get wrong about millennials living at home

    If the media is to be believed, America is facing a major crisis. "Kids," some age 25, 26, or even 30 years old, are living out of their childhood bedrooms and basements at alarmingly high numbers. The hand-wringing overlooks one problem: It's all overblown.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hospitals let patients schedule ER visits

    Three times within a week, 34-year-old Michael Granillo went to the emergency room at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles because of intense back pain. Each time, Granillo, who didn't have insurance, stayed for less than an hour before leaving without being seen by a doctor.

    July 21, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads