“If You See a Bear While Out Hiking, Do Not Feed It” — Actual Tip from Star-Ledger

Readers — If you wonder why kids aren’t outside as much anymore, maybe it’s time to consider all the helpful safety tips we get.  Here are some from the New Jersey’s Star Ledger’s “46 Ways to Have a Safer NJ Summer.” (For more, see my piece at Reason.)

“If you see a bear while out hiking, do not feed or approach it.” Aw, gee — not even if it’s one of those cute cubs, out with its mama?

“Avoid forests.” Swear to God, the list says to avoid God’s gift. After all, you could get ticks.

“Don’t dig too deep.” Because once, in 2012, a child smothered in a sand tunnel, you should worry about every hole your kids dig from now on.

“Supervise children on playgrounds. Adults should always [boldface, mine] be nearby when children are on playgrounds. When kids are playing on the equipment, they can sometimes stumble or become off balance for a moment….If parents are nearby, they can catch the child before they fall and possibly injure themselves.”

Here’s my longer piece. – L.

Oh my God, those poor, doomed kids!

Oh my God, those poor, doomed kids!


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62 Responses to “If You See a Bear While Out Hiking, Do Not Feed It” — Actual Tip from Star-Ledger

  1. Warren June 19, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

    Really wish they would stop issuing these warnings, and just let natural selection go to work.

  2. E June 19, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

    The “avoid forests” was not exactly the advice they were giving…it’s the first 2 words in some suggestions about ticks. Sure, it’s something most people know by now, but it clearly is not saying to completely avoid forests…swear to god.

    ” As a general rule, if you can see your shoe tops, you’re in a low tick area”

  3. Donna June 19, 2014 at 3:23 pm #

    “If you see a bear while out hiking, do not feed or approach it.”

    This may seem ridiculous but apparently this is actually a problem.

    Several years ago my brother and I went camping in Sequoia National Park. We went for a walk in a more populated area of the park. As we got near the end of the trail, we saw a bear … and a group of kids chasing the bear while mom and dad watched. A couple of rangers were hanging out at the trail head so we told them about the children chasing the bear. Their look was one of complete exasperation, with an eye roll and everything. It was clear that this happened all the time.

  4. Andy June 19, 2014 at 3:27 pm #

    I checked those safety tips and have to agree with E. The advice in article is “Avoid forests and high grass, where ticks are most common”. Shortening it to “Avoid forests” changes the meaning a lot.

    Other reinterpretations were less unfair, but they still lost too much of a nuance present in original article.

    I would prefer if I could trust what is written on this blog instead of having to double check whether it does not cherry pick words just to support selected narrative.

    These articles would be much better if they would

  5. Andy June 19, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

    @Donna Yep, many people underestimate how dangerous real wild animals can be. I spent time in national park too and the stories about tourists too comfortable in their presence were all around. We (meaning city) tend to underestimate how fast they run, how quickly they get angry and overestimate our ability to guess when it is going to happen.

    I guess it is because most people encounter them only in zoos and education about those animals is usually targeted on making us like them.

  6. E June 19, 2014 at 3:38 pm #

    @Andy, that’s the point. Most of the time the articles linked DO provide fodder for discussion on the theme behind Free Range and cultivator irrational fear. Probably the sand and the playground goes the farthest into that territory. When phrases are extracted for maximum indignance, it lessens the message imo. It appears we are looking for attention grabbing, eye rolling things that aren’t really there anyway.

    As far as the bear advice? It’s good advice that I wish more people would follow. They used to allow it in places many years ago. Even Yellowstone has a page devoted to Bear Management that talks about how they’ve changed their approach to bears/food and how nothing really changed until 1970.

  7. Dirk June 19, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

    Risk management is part of all this. Law suits created the cya attitude for most of these institutions.

  8. SOA June 19, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

    People do need to be told the don’t feed the bears thing because it is a really bad issue, for the bears. Not so much the people. Because then the bears will start going around people more and more and then they have to kill or relocate the bear. It sucks for the poor bear.

    I vacation in the Smokey Mountains and people act like idiots around the bears. They try to chase them to get pictures with them in the wild. They are morons. There are signs everywhere about not feeding them and putting your trash up and locking food in your car.

    And yes you are not supposed to talk to the lifeguards! It distracts them. Our pool specifically has that in the rules to not bother the lifeguards with chit chat.

  9. Elizabeth June 19, 2014 at 4:47 pm #

    “When kids are playing on the equipment, they can sometimes stumble or become off balance for a moment.”

    My two year old has recently discovered our cat tree and loves to scale its five foot height. He’s become remarkably adept at it in just a few days. He doesn’t yet know how to get down again yet, so once he’s on the top I keep an eye on him and come near to help if he looks like he is trying to get down. It’s a wide based unit with a low center of gravity so I’m not worried about it tipping over.

    I have noticed that when I am close to him, he is LESS careful about his movements, and is more likely to just leap off…trusting that I will catch him, rather than working it out himself. I’m currently aiming for that balance of far enough away so that he feels the danger and works out how to get down, and near enough to intervene when he is clearly about to tumble to the tile floor. Exciting for both of us!

  10. SOA June 19, 2014 at 4:49 pm #

    I mean in general all those tips are things that their parents should have taught them when they were kids. Almost every one of those I remember my parents teaching it to me. Then I pass it on to my kids. But I guess all it takes is one idiot to break that whole teaching and passing it on cycle so maybe they would need a list like this.

    Most of the tips were good tips in general, and I guess some people may not know them if their parents did not teach them.

  11. Warren June 19, 2014 at 5:13 pm #

    If you need to be told not to annoy the appex predator in the woods, you deserve what you get.

    Ticks are always the talk, yet in all my years have never had one, nor any of my dogs.

    Really? Don’t talk to lifeguards? If that lifeguard cannot have a quick conversation without compromising the area’s safety, then fire that damn lifeguard.

  12. Jim June 19, 2014 at 5:27 pm #

    I don’t know, you act like that first one is silly advice, but there’s a picture of my mother when she was about 7 years old feeding a black bear that wandered near their campsite in the smoky mountains. This was about 1950. Yes, her parents saw her feeding a wild bear and they… grabbed a camera. (The bear took her food and wandered off. She was not harmed. But it’s still really not a very good idea.)

  13. Peter June 19, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

    Actually, Andy, I disagree. The headline says to “Avoid Forests and High Grass.” That to me says, “Don’t go in forests or high grass unless you have to.” That’s what the message is to me.

    I grew up in rural Vermont and went in forests and high grass all the time. I also always wore jeans and sneakers so I was pretty well covered. Maybe that might be a worthwhile thing to add…

    I think the issue is what constitutes “safe”? Take the sunscreen thing. I never wore sunscreen as a kid. Somehow I managed to survive to adulthood without skin cancer. Don’t get me wrong–there are those who have fair skin and should probably wear sunscreen. Also, it is a somewhat regional thing. Again, never wore sunscreen as a kid. Never got a sunburn–always turned into a beautiful tan. Then I went down to Florida for a weekend in March when I was in my mid-20s and burned like a lobster. I was peeling for the next week after I returned to New York.

    So is getting a sunburn somehow “unsafe”? Uncomfortable, sure. Painful, maybe. But “unsafe”?

    How about using insect repellent? Yeah, mosquito bites are annoying. But that’s about it. Does it rise to the level of “unsafe” for most of us?

  14. SOA June 19, 2014 at 6:35 pm #

    Skin cancer is no joke. Several people in the 30s I know have already had skin cancer in small spots. People I went to high school with. Girls who thought it was cute to go to the tanning bed before Prom and now they have already had skin cancer at 30.

    Yes, some people are more likely to burn than others or quicker than others. But I would not mock sunscreen warnings. Because it is very important. For one thing sun ages your skin prematurely. There is a reason my 80 year old Grandmother has very unwrinkly skin for her age. She never went out in the sun her entire life without a giant sun hat.

  15. Babs June 19, 2014 at 6:38 pm #

    Well, guess what. I’ve been allowing my 10 1/2 year-old daughter to go outside, unsupervised, on her scooter around the block, even riding up to the school playground, not even 1/4 mile away. She walks to school alone most days, and tonight, when she asked me about going, I said (reluctantly) okay, but wear your helmet (I worry more about injuries) and to take my cellphone with her. 20 minutes later, child comes home, in one piece, but did comment that two of her friends’ moms saw her alone and asked “Are you here by yourself?” Yes, I’m sure they are clucking their tongues and questioning my parenting skills. And one of those moms I like and am friendly with her (her daughter is my daughter’s best friend), but she gets overly hysterical about kidnappings, and won’t even allow her daughter to play in front of the house unsupervised because of it.

  16. SteveS June 19, 2014 at 7:00 pm #

    Around here (MI), we only have black bears and they are very shy and reclusive. If you see one, chances are it will try and get away if it knows you are there. I have only seen a few in my entire life. They are impressive creatures. It is unfortunate that people have to be told something as basic as not feeding them or to not chase them. I kind of agree with Warren. If you are that stupid…

  17. pentamom June 19, 2014 at 7:12 pm #

    Yeah, the don’t feed the bears one isn’t stupid because people actually DO do it, and it is always objectively bad, not just “a little bit risky.”

    The rest of it is stupid, at least as phrased. Unlike Warren, half the people I know who frequently go into the woods have at least one story about finding a tick on themselves or their dogs. And then there’s my Dad, who died of the long-term effects of untreated Lyme. But I guess all those people just don’t radiate self-sufficient awesome like Warren does so the ticks don’t just stay away.

    Anyway, that’s a reason to use repellant, dress appropriately, and do tick checks, not a reason to avoid the Scary Outdoors Place, or even the parts of the Scary Outdoors Place where ticks live.

  18. SteveS June 19, 2014 at 7:15 pm #

    I don’t know about NJ, but some areas don’t have a lot of ticks. I have spent a ton of time in the woods and have only had 2 or 3 ticks on me. Maybe I radiate awesomeness, too 😉

  19. pentamom June 19, 2014 at 7:29 pm #

    No, Steve, that’s probably it — there probably aren’t as many ticks in Warren’s part of Ontario, that’s why he’s never seen any. Not because only stupid people are concerned about them.

    In Pennsylvania and Maryland, OTOH, they’re something you think about, and I’m guessing NJ too, as they go up the eastern seaboard.

  20. Andrea June 19, 2014 at 7:51 pm #

    While I agree there is merit in some of the points, it’s bizarre to me that they’re advocating supervising kids on playgrounds SO CLOSELY that if they lose balance for a single second you are there to catch them. Imagine how awkward a play structure would be if each parent was physically spotting a kid every second? If you’re even a couple feet away, you can’t catch them if they fall. Not to mention the fact that most playgrounds have that awful squishy recycled shoe soles or whatever for padding when they fall. And not to mention the fact that falling is a normal, even healthy part of childhood.

    And what if you have more than one kid at the playground? Does one have to sit and wait while you nervously hover with your arms poised to catch the other’s fall?

  21. E June 19, 2014 at 7:54 pm #

    I live in a neighborhood with a lot of trees in the mid atlantic and we (us or the dog) get a tick on us almost every time we walk the dog in the woods.

  22. Puzzled June 19, 2014 at 9:38 pm #

    Warren, where does it say not to talk to lifeguards? The closest I can find is 21, which is called “talk to the lifeguards.”

  23. Nicole 2 June 19, 2014 at 9:53 pm #

    @Elizabeth- I noticed the same thing with grade school age kids. If I walk with them to school, they expect me to keep them safe and are careless. If I stand at the end of the block and watch them they are attentive. It’s ultimately what convinced me to let them walk to school on their own, even though they have to cross at a busy intersection with a stop light (and a crossing guard!)

  24. Warren June 19, 2014 at 10:23 pm #

    The lifeguard thing was brought up by that idiot Dolly.

    And pentamom, you can only dream to be as great as I. So keep dreamin.

  25. SOA June 19, 2014 at 10:51 pm #

    Pentamom: I also know someone with Lyme disease. It went misdiagnosed for a long time for her because apparently this area is not supposed to have lyme disease but alas she does. She really suffers from it.

    I was in the woods all the time as a kid. Camping or when I was a kid I would find any patch of woods in the suburbs and go hang out there. I did find ticks on me multiple times but no lyme disease that I know of. They are gross though. Blech.

  26. SOA June 19, 2014 at 10:53 pm #

    LOL Warren: You just insulted your hero. If you read her piece on Reason in the link above Lenore was the one that agreed with me about distracting lifeguards by talking to them.

  27. Coccinelle June 19, 2014 at 11:09 pm #

    @ SOA

    1. Sun causes skin cancer mostly when it’s use as one-time-only kind of deal. Like I work indoors 50 weeks and I go on vacation in the Caribbean for 2 weeks. When you go under the sun everyday, it actually build your resistance to skin cancer.

    2. Most sunscreens have many carcinogenic ingredients.

    3. Rickets is on the rise because so many people fear the sun. (In North America, if it wasn’t clear.)

  28. SOA June 19, 2014 at 11:57 pm #

    I do not blame rickets on fear of the sun. I blame it on bad parents. I know too many moms who freak out if their kid gets their clothes dirty or they will say its too hot or its too cold or its too wet or basically find any reason they can find to not take their kids outside. They feel they can’t let them out on their own so that means the parents have to go outside too and they won’t. Because they are lazy.

    I put sunscreen on my kids because they burn super easily but they still spend hours and hours outdoors.

    Not all people build up a tolerance to the sun. Gingers like my son never tan. They burn every time. Badly. In a short period of time even. We still go outside all the time. We go to the pool a ton in the summer. But we just put on sunscreen.

    Too many parents now sit their kids in front of the tv all day long not because they fear the sun but because that is our society now and they are lazy.

  29. hineata June 20, 2014 at 3:31 am #

    Personally, if I saw a bear while out hiking, I would be changing my medication :-).

    Seals, though….just don’t go there. That is, anywhere close to them. Though the smell should be enough to put you off.

    Moving into winter here, how depressing! Only have to watch out for hypothermia, and flooded rivers…And exorbitant heating bills, if you choose to spend some time indoors :-(.

    Hope y’all enjoy tick-free summers…..

  30. Andy June 20, 2014 at 3:33 am #

    @Peter The headline says “Avoid forests and high grass, where ticks are most common” that is the bolded part. I just copy pasted it. It is followed by ticks related details.

    Sun burned skin raises the probability of skin cancer. Similarly to smoking – it does not ensure you will get it, just makes your chances go high. Anecdote of someone being burned and not instantly getting it does not disprove the effect.

    @Warren Then you do not live in tick heavy area. We do and checking yourself for ticks after visiting forest and removing them if you caught some is normal part of life. It was that way when I was a kid too.

    @SOA As for lifeguards, it may depend on location, but lifeguards here are generally responsible for managing the place. E.g. they are supposed to enforce the rules and so on. Answering questions about “dangerous currents” is not a chit chat and sounds like something that would be part of that job.

    The following point about “rip current” actually would be useful for those who do not live near the see and never heard about “rip currents” until they accidentally swam into one on vacation. Most such people know that currents exist, but have no idea what to do in them.

  31. Andy June 20, 2014 at 3:43 am #

    Apparently, people used to hand feed bears around 1902. They also used to feed bears (throw food on ground) and gather to watch them eat until national park implemented regulations to prevent it in 1970.

    So, this is not a new problem nor new advice. It was part of national park management for decades and saved both human and bears lives over the years.

  32. Donna June 20, 2014 at 6:48 am #

    SOA – Sunscreen is part of the cause of the growth of rickets (along with kids spending less time outdoors). Sunscreen blocks the ultraviolet rays that the skin needs to produce vitamin D. People need UNPROTECTED sun exposure to produce vitamin D. As far as vitamin D is concerned, going outside lathered in sunscreen is exactly the same as watching tv inside.

    Vitamin D also comes from food and can be supplemented. If a kid literally can’t be out in the sun unprotected for 20 minutes a day without burning, then s/he needs to get sufficient vitamin D these other ways.

  33. Donna June 20, 2014 at 7:23 am #

    “Avoid forests and high grass, where ticks are most common.”

    I don’t see where Lenore misconstrued this at all. The piece is clearly saying to avoid forests and high grass areas because that is where ticks are most prevalent. It does go on to define “high grass,” but never negates the advise to avoid all forests and high grass areas.

    I do assume that since the article is titled “46 Ways to Have a Safer NJ summer,” the author is specifically talking about NJ forests, where ticks are common, and not necessarily all forests in all the world, some of which don’t have ticks.

    And it is stupid advise. Better advise would be to tell you how to coexist in the forest and high grass areas with ticks. And what to look for since deer ticks and what we commonly call dog ticks are very different and most people only think about the latter.

  34. Andy June 20, 2014 at 7:44 am #

    @Donna I read it as “avoid those forests and high grasses that contain a lot of ticks”. Not all places have equal amounts of ticks in them. The only way how to coexist is ticks is to use repellent and then remove those who got you anyway.

    Is that sentence ambiguous or I simply read that wrong?

  35. tdr June 20, 2014 at 8:06 am #

    Read Bill Bryson A Walk in the Woods for some harrowing stories about idiots feeding bears.

    The only issue with the bear warning is that these are frequently ineffective and should possibly be stated much more strongly.

  36. SOA June 20, 2014 at 8:12 am #

    I agree better advice would be to tell you what to do about ticks. Bug spray before going in the woods, long sleeves and pants, tucking pants into your socks, and checking yourself when you get home and removing any if you find any.

  37. E June 20, 2014 at 8:25 am #

    The list includes safe things to do when hiking and encountering bears, I really don’t think it was intended to encourage people to avoid forests entirely. Perhaps there was a misplaced comma?

    We hike on some public game lands with our dog (on Sundays when no hunting takes place). But we only do it during the middle of winter. Once it gets warm, the ticks are crazy so we “avoid that forest” for about 8 months of the year because “ticks are common”.

  38. Donna June 20, 2014 at 8:32 am #

    Andy – I don’t think the sentence is particularly ambiguous. I suppose if you view it as advise on how to interact with the entire world it would be since tick concentrations vary worldwide. But if viewed as limited to the New Jersey area, as it appears she is intending, it isn’t ambiguous.

    Tick concentrations vary worldwide, and even countrywide, but are pretty stagnant regionally. One forest in New Jersey is not going to have substantially more or less ticks than any other forest. So an recommendation to stay out of forests would mean all of them in a particular region of the country.

  39. anonymous mom June 20, 2014 at 8:38 am #

    Ticks depends on where you live. My in-laws live in CT, very close to Lyme. Ticks are a significant problem. Last fall, my father-in-law became extremely ill (to the point where for several weeks he couldn’t walk without assistance), and it was finally diagnosed as babesiosis, from a tick bite that summer. He is elderly and has autoimmune problems, so it hit him much harder than it might normally affect somebody. He did fully recover after a couple of months.

    I actually thought the worst piece of advice was to always carry a mobile phone if camping/hiking. Why? People managed to survive camping and hiking for many, many generations without having cellphones.

  40. Stacie June 20, 2014 at 8:51 am #

    Last night, my almost-4-year-old and I were at a playground, and he climbed about halfway up a tall ladder-like thing on the “big kid” playground (the one bearing the “this is for kids ages 5 to 12 with sufficient coordination and strength” stickers)…then he said, “mama, I need help.” He clearly didn’t–he was not in distress or slipping. I told him I was too short to help him (which was mostly true–he was already too high for me to lift him off the structure) and he would need to figure out how to get up or get down.

    And you know what? He made it all the way up to the top by himself and was damn excited when he did.

  41. Donna June 20, 2014 at 8:51 am #

    I don’t think the advice is necessarily consistent from one piece to another, however, that doesn’t mean that she didn’t specifically say “avoid forests” in that one part. It just means she is inconsistent … or more likely saying “I think you should avoid forests entirely, but if you go anyway, don’t feed the bears.”

    Also bears do not always limit themselves to forests. I lived in Jersey as a kid and remember a huge outrage and protest when cops killed a bear cub that had wandered into a suburban neighborhood. Many thought that it should have been stunned and moved to the forest. So thr advice may not be inconsistent at all.

  42. E June 20, 2014 at 8:52 am #

    @Donna, like I said…I live in a place with ticks and we avoid certain forests at certain times of year due to ticks. I’m not really sure how one would have the take away of avoiding forests entirely when other items talk about hiking and bears.

    @anon mom, sure people hiked w/o phones for generations. They also survived driving to the store without a phone or going out to dinner without a phone (places where they have phones on the wall). If you aren’t planning to take a cell phone anywhere, you probably don’t need one at all. If you’ve got one, why not throw it in your pack just in case. People bring whistles just in case, people bring first aid kits just in case. I took a hard fall in Yosemite hiking last year. Everything was fine (other than some huge bruises) but if I’d broken something, I imagine it would have been nice to use my phone to call for some assistance rather than having my hiking partner have to hike all the way out and back. Service was spotty, but I know he would have been able to reach a service point before he’d reached the trail head.

  43. Andy June 20, 2014 at 9:16 am #

    @Donna Ticks concentrations are not stagnant locally, at least not here. They can vary a lot even within the same forest and different forests in the same area can have much different amounts of ticks. Their activity depends on local humidity, temperature and probably other factors too. Those can vary a lot within the same forest, especially humidity.

  44. pentamom June 20, 2014 at 9:22 am #

    “Avoid forests and high grass, where ticks are most common.”

    This is a case where punctuation matters. If Andy’s reading is correct, the sentence is written wrongly, because the placement of the comma renders “avoid forests and grass” and makes “where ticks are most common” the reason for doing so.

    If Andy’s reading is correct, it should have been “Avoid forests and high grass where ticks are most common.” Without the comma, “where ticks are most common” modifies and limits the forests and high grass you’re supposed to avoid. With the comma, the final phrase is optional, and explains, but does not limit, the primary clause.

    So either it’s a properly written sentence, and Donna is correct, so it’s stupid advice, or it’s a wrongly written one, and Andy is correct, and it’s reasonable advice. Who knows?

  45. pentamom June 20, 2014 at 9:24 am #

    As Andy said, they do vary within areas. And “high grass” some distance away from a forest is probably going to be less tick-prone than high grass right up against a forest. Also, a well-used hiking trail through a forest is less tick-prone than a denser, less cleared forest area, since you pick up ticks by brushing against vegetation.

  46. lollipoplover June 20, 2014 at 9:40 am #

    “But the season of fun in the great outdoors has its dangerous side, too — especially in New Jersey, where everything from deer ticks to rip currents lurk just out of sight, ready to put a serious damper on your summer celebrations.”

    The majority of visits to NJ in the summer are to the beaches.
    May I add to this list?
    47. Follow traffic reports before entering your car to save yourself from going ballistic in yet another NJ traffic jam to the shore. I wonder how many heart attacks are induced by drivers stuck in never ending construction.

    48. Don’t assume you have the right of way as pedestrians in crosswalks. Yes, the beach is just a block away and you think the truck will stop for you while you’re lugging all of your beach gear, but some won’t. Some just want to make their deliveries on time. Just like at home, cars are your biggest danger. Be alert so you don’t add to the ever increasing amount of pedestrian accidents in shore towns.

    49. Use caution when biking in densely populated areas such as boardwalks. Personally, I’ve had most of my worst biking crashes on NJ Boardwalks. It’s like Frogger out there, even with the marked lanes. I’d take forest biking, bears and ticks a plenty over flying off on splintered boards trying to avoid a 5 year-old who stops and gets off his bike in the lane to demand some water ice. I still have a scar on my knee from that one.

    50. Assess your children’s abilities first before taking them out on bikes, in the ocean, or hiking in the forest. Safety gear is great but if they don’t know the basic rules of biking or how to swim with currents in the ocean, no helmet or swimmies will save them from inexperience, even if you are standing right there.

  47. Coccinelle June 20, 2014 at 10:01 am #

    @ SOA

    I completely agree with Donna but I would add that if your children burn that easily you should really get their vitamin D level checked. Vitamin D is a fabulous factor against sun burns.

    Also, I know about ginger and sun, I’m a ginger. When I was talking about resistance, I was not talking about a tan. Because I don’t tan. I was talking about vitamin D. Sorry for not being clear.

  48. Jill June 20, 2014 at 11:16 am #

    OK. I get the bear thing, because kids who are brought up on Disney videos assume that bears are cuddly fur-buddies instead of savage killing machines. But the other warnings? C’mon.

    I grew up at the Jersey Shore, where we routinely buried each other in the sand at the beach, tried to dig to China in our backyards, played in the woods for hours and — with reckless disregard for life and limb — swung and climbed and slid at the playground without any adult supervision. None of us were killed, not even a little bit.

  49. Donna June 20, 2014 at 11:18 am #

    E –

    It is not usual for people to give somewhat conflicting advice to cover all their bases. Advice is not a legal mandate so you do understand that not everyone is going to follow everything you say.

    For example, I frequently tell my clients to stop smoking crack. I also tell them ways to lessen their chances of detection and what to do when confronted by the police. It is not that I don’t really mean to stop smoking crack when I say exactly that. I truly do wish for them to stop smoking crack completely; I just understand that many of them are not going to follow that advice so I have to give them more practical tips too.

    And she is just talking about SUMMER tips. For New Jersey. Nothing to really be read more broadly than that.

    And as for ticks variety, sure it varies somewhat from area to area even within the same geographical region, but most people are not actually tick experts nor are they following this year’s seasonal tick patterns. It would illogical to assume in an article that involves extremely basic advice, like learn how to swim, that she is actually telling people to learn and follow local tick patterns for the entire tri-state area.

    Either way it is stupid advice. There is no reason to stay out of forests in high or low tick areas as there are ways to limit your risk from ticks. THAT would have been good information to give.

  50. Donna June 20, 2014 at 11:55 am #

    But maybe certain areas do have substantially more tick variation than in the areas that I am used to. I lived in New Jersey for most of my childhood and don’t recall large disparities in tick populations. I can’t recall any forests that were notoriously tick-free while others were loaded with ticks. Some forests may have had more ticks and some less, and some areas of the forest may have been more likely than others for ticks, but the potential for ticks was present in all of them.

  51. SOA June 20, 2014 at 3:27 pm #

    Vitamin D is in milk. My kids go through a gallon of milk every 2 days. I think they are good! Plus it is not like we slather on sunscreen every time we leave the house. But if we are going to be playing outside or at the pool then yes, it goes on.

  52. Andy June 20, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

    @Donna The places where the most ticks are in here tend to be the same every year, so local population learned them over years.

    There is rarely tick free forest, but some places within forest have more of them then others. For example, if you sit near beginning of trail A (place with high trees density) then you are very likely to get one. If you sit near trail B (lower density a lot of sun) you are unlikely to get one. A and B can be only few hundred meters from each other.

    Grass height also vary a lot within the same forest. Border has high grass (better for ticks), inside has small grass (harder for ticks). Grass near water is also higher then grass far from it.

    So, we would rest either inside the forest or on the meadow, but rarely directly on the border. Since areas with less ticks are more popular, you will end up there out of habit even if you do not think about ticks at all.

  53. Peter June 20, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

    @Andy, Sunburned skin raises the probability of skin cancer. Which is true. Does this mean that exposure to the sun without having sunscreen on is “unsafe”?

    Someone else mentioned wrinkles/premature aging. I mean, oh my God, we have to make decisions now over the appearance of our children in 70 years!

    The issue I have isn’t so much the causes of skin cancer. My Dad had skin cancer when he was in his 70s after a lifetime of being in the sun. And, yes, after spending months applying sulfuric acid to his forehead, he decided that he’d better start wearing a hat outside.

    I mean, playing games in traffic is “unsafe.” Approaching wild animals is “unsafe.” Riding a bicycle without a helmet is “unsafe.” Running with scissors is “unsafe.” I’m fine with that. But being outside in the sun without sunscreen is not what I would consider to be “unsafe.” “Unwise,” perhaps, but even that seems to be overdoing it.

    Maybe that’s where I get grumpy about these things. I see a list of 46 items, some of which I would consider “unsafe” and some that I would consider to be “less than optimal.”

  54. Puzzled June 21, 2014 at 12:01 am #

    By the way, if you are going to speak to the lifeguards, the easiest way to do it is to stand in front of the chair and a bit away from it so they can talk to you while watching the water. Or if there are any behind the chair (likely on the east coast) you can always talk to them.

  55. Amanda Matthews June 21, 2014 at 1:53 am #

    “Vitamin D is in milk.”
    But humans don’t absorb the nutrients in cow’s milk as well as the dairy industry likes you to believe.

  56. Andy June 21, 2014 at 6:55 am #

    @Peter “Does this mean that exposure to the sun without having sunscreen on is “unsafe”?”

    Strawman, nobody claimed it to be unsafe. Not even security tips in original article which recommended sunscreen when being outside for “extended periods of time”.

  57. Jeff Wegerson June 21, 2014 at 1:52 pm #

    I created some rules for having a better time at Michigan’s Warren Dunes state park:

    1: No running into trees
    2: No eating the sand
    3: No drowning
    4: No playing in the poison ivy

    Tongue on cheek of course but in this day and age …

  58. derfel cadarn June 22, 2014 at 2:25 pm #

    Dear L always love the snark, but snark only works on those with functioning brain cells, leaving those most in need oblivious to reality.

  59. Nicole June 22, 2014 at 5:19 pm #

    There’s a great older playground a block from my house where I see kids constantly play unsupervised. I even see them playing in the rivulet that passes through the park, and it frequently overflows in heavy rain. What an opportunity to play in water! To my knowledge, there haven’t been any dire consequences from playing there unsupervised.

  60. JJ June 23, 2014 at 1:16 pm #

    Does anyone remember the scene with John Candy and the bear in “the Great Oudoors”? That’s the first thing that comes to mind when reading this headline.

  61. Maegan June 24, 2014 at 6:00 pm #

    Good heavens. What a pile of regurgitated idioms. Clearly, someone was tasked with writing summer safety tips to drive traffic and impact SEO and spent a day thinking of anything that could possibly hurt any living thing. I especially like this quote: “Prevention is better than any available treatment when it comes to poison ivy, Fisher says.” Well, sure. Not getting some uncomfortable or dangerous rash or disease is ideal to getting one. If only we could prevent against everything … Wait. I shouldn’t tempt them.

    I also really like the tip to take identification with you while hiking. Because WHEN the expansive pack of food and premium filtered water you have with you runs out, someone is going to have to IDENTIFY YOUR BODY.

  62. Warren June 25, 2014 at 12:39 pm #

    So many PSAs and people constantly telling me to never go hiking alone, and never go fishing alone. Being alone is a major factor in why I do those activities.