National parks have played such a big role for most of us growing up. Families have relied on these affordable destinations as great vacation spots for so long that it’s a part of our pop culture. But, back in the day the Yellowstone staff had a much different way of presenting nature to the public than they do these days. In this vintage clip about the famed park, we see the familiar natural beauty that represents our history. But, we also see how the park used to manage the bear population that traveled through this breathtaking landscape. Not only were the bears allowed to eat human food, there were bleachers set up for folks for watch the bears feed. Starting in 1931 Yellowstone encouraged human-bear interaction through these feeding spectacles. It wasn’t until 1960 that the management of bears became centered around keeping property loss and human injury to a minimum and the park began posting signs warning of proper food storage and disposal while in the park. The narrator even describes some bears as friendly! Today, the old practices would never fly, but back then it was a different world. And, check out these WPA tourism posters that depict our national parks in stunning 1930s style.
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