Have you seen the greatest minds of your generation destroyed by social isolation, starving, hysterical for entertainment, driving themselves to a National Park because there is literally nothing better to do? We at the National Park Service are willing and able to help members of Generation Z successfully spend time recreating in our parks instead of rewatching NBC’s “Parks and Recreation.”
As the nation emerges from a sixteen month stint in isolation, we understand that GenZ has developed a gripping wanderlust for our parks, forests and protected lands. While this may be fueled by Yosemite’s use as the default Mac background for the past five years – we are required to welcome visitors of all ages and motivations.
Many of you may think you are out of the woods with this plague. Lucky for you, our team at the National Park Service is never out of the woods. Just because a visitor is maskless, does not mean that they have two doses of Moderna.
In preparation for this particularly strange fall season, we insist that you follow the below safety handbook as a most practical guide to good, clean, socially distanced, budget distraction.
Social Media Managers and Content Creators Must Register with the National Park Service using our Contactless Kiosks
The National Park Service was not created this morning. We were established over a hundred years ago and are not the naive and innocent Park Rangers we appear to be. We see you. We understand you. We all know that you will be using our majestic forests as a backdrop for a sponsored post about SquareSpace, Skillshare or Audible.
We recognize that GenZ customers love a socially conscious brand. And so do we – in fact we require it! The National Park Service must approve of the content sponsor – as we will not allow MLM’s to uselessly hawk jewelry, essential oils, or hair-care to nineteen year olds on our watch. Lean towards brands like Bernie Sanders merchandise, Burton Snowboards, or Ben and Jerry’s– really any brand that was founded in the cow pasture that is the state of Vermont.
Dress to Impress
This is not the time for Gucci. This is the time for Patagucci. Lululemon or a matching crop top and leggings set from Outdoor Voices are a great place to start. Sweaty Betty? Even better. The wearing of all types of athleisure is only for your benefit. We may look angelic in our forest green coveralls, but we know what passes for fashionable in 2021.
For the Female Identifying – Whatever you wore to your last Saturday yoga and brunch get together will work
For the Male Identifying – try to emulate a Seattle technology worker who spends all day sitting and coding but dresses like there could be a spontaneous hike at any moment.
Tag our Parks on your Dating Website of Choice
Unlike pictures in military uniforms, or pictures of you holding a fish you just caught, pictures taken at a National Park can often be a green flag for potential suitors looking for romance online. While we are glad that your interest in hiking and biking will help you connect with average looking strangers, please provide us due credit. If you do, karma may reward you and that third date may take place in a two person tent on one of our many off-the-grid campgrounds.
Follow the Trail Signage
Trail signage has been reimagined for our changed times. Instead of trails being designated by mileage or difficulty – they have now been arranged by the goals of each hike.
Cute Hike – A hike you do with several friends from college to gossip about acquaintances, do some light networking and decide if you still like each other.
Coffee Hike – coffee is provided, at the beginning, middle and end of your hike to keep your exhausted – and potentially hungover – ass awake as you take in some stunning vistas. We will charge three dollars for this experience. Starbucks is charging five! Stop the complaining!
Healing Hike – Walk with a Park Ranger and/or Social Worker to discuss childhood trauma, all the ways your parents failed you, stress due to isolation during the pandemic, unemployment, attachment styles/ love languages or general life regrets. Check with your insurance provider on your coverage – but the copay runs around $75 a session.
Bumble Hike – Rangers are stationed approximately every one thousand feet to ensure safety. Most ideal for a first date. Flat terrain with around 45 minutes of talk time.
Peloton Hike – On this hike, you will take a rest day from your usual Peloton regime – but sweat the same amount as you walk on an aggressively steep incline for four or more hours. If more motivation is needed – audio recordings by Cody Rigsby or Robin Arzon can be downloaded on our website or can be found on Spotify or Apple Music.
ASMR Hike – a hike with some god damn piece and quiet.
Record Tik Tok Dances Only at our Designated Locations
While we are grateful of our youths eagerness to publicize (for free) the beauty of mountains, prairies and oceans – please be advised that doing so near a cliff and/or water feature may result in injury and more importantly, the loss of postable content. Feel free to take photos and videos where you wish, but limit dancing and to our marked TikTok friendly zones located throughout each of our parks
Leave No Trace
As you already know – dogs are the new kids. We do not care how cute your fur-baby is…please bring a small plastic bag to pick up your dog’s poop like a civilized human being.
And for those living the #vanlife, please dig a hole 100 feet from the nearest water source to defecate into. Please cover said hole when you are finished. Just because you don’t own/rent a toilet – doesn’t mean you get to shit as you please and potentially give our other visitors dysentery! Do not ruin other people’s ten days of precious PTO with illness due to your inability to plan ahead!
Eat at Your Own Risk
The following foods are to be eaten with EXTREME CAUTION on National Park grounds.
- Peanuts and Peanut Butter
- Milk, Ice Cream and Other Dairy Products
- Seafood & Shellfish
- Tree Nuts
- Ingredients like Soy and Sesame
While our staff is experienced in Wildlife Medicine, we are not allergists. We know that a jar of Skippy’s might take out around twenty percent of you. Carry an Epi-Pen just in case. Carry two Epi-Pens. If you have an allergic reaction on the top of Mount Rainier, we will not be able to reach you until you suffocate, die and rigor mortis has fully set in.
And for those who are lactose intolerant – plan ahead. Bring your lactate pills and your lactose free milk. In case of emergency, please see our previously stated “Leave No Trace” policy and start digging a shit-hole.
Plan and Premeditate Psychedelic Use
Now that typical locations for summer psychedelic use (music festivals, long weekend trips to Amsterdam) are still partially illegal – feel free to utilize our parks for these activities. Think of us as the laissez-faire chaperone – We’d rather you do it in the house than go somewhere else. Here is what any cool mom would want you to know…
Rangers are underpaid government employees and not practitioners of Shaminism! We encourage each party to have a sober monitor. In order to avoid emergencies, please pick up informational pamphlets and test kits that are available upon entrance into the park.
Stay the fuck away from the animals. You could be seeing animals that are not there. But you could be seeing animals that are ACTUALLY there. Either way, that fluffy cow you potentially see is not a fluffy cow. It is a Bison. It weighs two tons and runs thirty-five miles an hour. We can’t run that fast and are pretty sure you can’t either, especially while in the middle of tripping on God-knows-what. We repeat, maintain enormous distance between yourself and the wildlife. And, never feed the animals. Please only touch ferns, grasses, and trees on an as needed basis.
Enjoy your trip underneath the stars and Joshua Trees.
- About the Author
- Latest Posts
Gabrielle Rerra is a writer and satirist located in Boston. She is a graduate of Syracuse University and now works in the technology industry. This is her first published work.