Embarking on a park vacation? Read on.

By Perri Ormont Blumberg
July 9, 2019
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So it's the summer. You're finally — bold-underline-exclamation mark! — headed on a big national park travel adventure. Whether you're bound for the Smoky Mountains or Yellowstone, here's a piece of advice to keep in mind: Park rangers know best.

Take it from the men and women who have seen and hiked it all, as Reader's Digest recently proved in the fascinating piece, 31 Secrets Park Rangers Want You to Know. Here are the top three tips we learned:

1. Skip the crazy selfie.

"A tragic accident that happens surprisingly often: People pose as if they’re falling off a cliff for a photo but then actually fall off," explains the article's author, Michelle Crouch, adding that you should never take these photos in a national park. Losing your life or seriously injuring yourself is simply not worth the Instagram likes.

2. If you get lost, stay in place.

It may seem counterintuitive, but wandering around and trying to find your way out of the park on your own can actually make it more difficult for people to rescue you (Of course, if you're in immediate danger, seek safety). "The more you move around, the harder you are to find. If you can’t reach us on your phone, spread out brightly colored clothing," writes Crouch.

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3. Talk to a park ranger.

Consider them your friendly, knowledgeable pals for the day (or week): As Crouch points out from the point of a view of a ranger, "Our heads are crammed with trivia, interesting facts, and historical information about our locations, and we love sharing it with you. Your tax dollars are paying for us so you might as well take advantage." Before you travel, come up with a list of a few questions you want to ask rangers, whether it's what their personal favorite trail is, or where the best area is to watch the sunset.

Read the full article on RD.com here.

Where will your travels take you this summer? Do you have a favorite tip for exploring our country's wondrous national park system?

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