How Very Welcoming!

Hi Readers! Here’s the sign a nature center director is about to take down from the local preserve where, for the record, there are no cliffs, no plunging ravines, no standing water, no wild animals beyond the usual squirrel-type thing, no snakes, and no evil trees. There IS some poison ivy. Anyway, as he put it, “It is really a welcoming sign, isn’t it?”

And a tank battalion, when possible.Â

38 Responses to How Very Welcoming!

  1. ChristineMM January 26, 2011 at 12:01 am #

    That sign is hilarious.

    On a more somber note I want to point you to Dana of Roscommon Acres whose toddler recently was killed after an injury at home. In this post she describes all the things done to try to keep him safe before that. In the end it wasn’t enough anyway. Very sad story. This post of hers made me think this message is one you talk about. If you want more of the story link back to read previoius posts the actual tragedy is described in the post “What Happened”.

  2. intuitivenutrition January 26, 2011 at 12:08 am #

    That is LOL hysterical! Watch out for those wild rabid squirrels!

  3. curiositycat January 26, 2011 at 12:10 am #

    I think this sign says more about our sue-happy society than actual worry on the part of the nature center. It is a sad state of affairs, for sure, but I don’t blame the nature center–I blame the thousands of people who believe that if something bad happens, SOMEONE must pay and most often that someone is a business or government agency because that is where the money can be found. Putting up a sign is just one line of defense for the organization. Sad but unfortunately increasingly necessary.

  4. Me January 26, 2011 at 12:12 am #

    Lenore, who persuaded them to fold into the rational world? Anyway, I am ok with the sign, with the exception of the last line. The “wild” part is true to some extent, but the second part is not necessary, or in some rare cases, is common sense.

  5. Joe January 26, 2011 at 12:33 am #

    Glad the sign is coming down. Also, as a lawyer, I echo what curiositycat said. The population as a whole feels entitled whenever something bad happens and we have an overpopulation of lawyers. This is a bad combination.

  6. Silver Fang January 26, 2011 at 12:34 am #

    I’m glad they’re taking it down. I used to explore outside by myself as a kid, and I survived.

  7. April January 26, 2011 at 12:35 am #

    to “Me”
    You’re ok with the “extreme caution” bit? This isn’t river rapids!

  8. Miranda C January 26, 2011 at 12:38 am #

    @Joe – curious – as an employee of a state park system, I often find myself debating this type of signage with my co-workers (I’m on the side of PLEASE take it down). Often, people make the liability argument. However, others, including some lawyers have actually said the less you say in terms of signs and warnings the better (because if you post a sign, you are acknowledging a risk that you are not attempting to mediate). So – just curious about your thoughts on that, as a lawyer.

  9. EricS January 26, 2011 at 12:51 am #

    Well it’s good to hear that a person of authority is using common sense, and taking steps to a non-fearful direction.

  10. fauxmeister January 26, 2011 at 12:59 am #

    Love your caption!

  11. dawn January 26, 2011 at 1:00 am #

    whoa, I would LOVE to buy that sign! Seriously! I’d hang it in my son’s room…

  12. North of 49 January 26, 2011 at 1:39 am #

    I caught a repeat of King of the Hill last night. They were camping with the “Straight Arrows” and the troop leader did everything he could to take the danger out of camping. The “fires” were little paper mock ups, the “camp out” was inside a library. Etc etc etc. Everything fun that we would have done as kids was gone and this was supposed to be a group for 13+!

    King of the Hill – showing what we have lost almost a decade ago.

  13. just sayin January 26, 2011 at 1:56 am #

    How about some uplifting stuff every once in a while?

  14. Joe January 26, 2011 at 2:03 am #

    Miranda – It is a complicated answer. One that can’t be answered without specific facts and an understanding of the laws of the particular jurisdiction. Sorry for the non-answer. Based on the laws where I am, I would not warn – but we have a statute that prevents someone from suing another who makes their property available of recreational use by others.

  15. maggie January 26, 2011 at 2:11 am #

    Maybe if Americans didn’t spend so much time inside behind screens and windows and actually spent time outside there would be no need for signs like this in the first place! (Not that I think there was a need in the first place). People are disconnected from their outside surroundings. When you are connected and familiar with an area there are a lot less dangers!

  16. maggie January 26, 2011 at 2:12 am #

    Kind of off the subject, it reminds me of a sign at my local animal shelter. It said “No Cats Allowed” and the shelter was told to take it down because it wasn’t “welcoming”. What, cats can read now??”)

  17. Jaynie January 26, 2011 at 2:16 am #

    It`s not even a useful sign! This wild area is wild, so treat it like it`s wild? I have no objection to the usual “there are bears here, be careful” or “caution, fast moving waters”, but that one is just redundant and (apparently) pointless.

  18. Esmeralda M Rupp-Spangle January 26, 2011 at 3:46 am #

    I’d like to put that sign in my front yard

  19. Jen January 26, 2011 at 4:03 am #

    If you go hiking here in S. AZ you’ll see many signs indicating that you may run into illegal smugglers with weapons and should be careful. Nothing about the wildlife, which includes mountain lions, bears and many poisonous snakes.

  20. SKL January 26, 2011 at 4:56 am #

    Our neighborhood park has a little ravine where there is a sign: “Poison Ivy.” There are lots of other “wild” things – steep hills, woods, streams, etc. – but only the Poison Ivy warrants a warning sign.

  21. Karen January 26, 2011 at 5:01 am #

    My son was bitten by a squirrel over the weekend. It was my fault for letting him feed them. I took him tot he doctor and he’s completely fine. (There’s no rabies in the U.K., Tets are up date, antibiotic ointment applied). I guess I should ask the park to put up hundreds of warning signs about the killer squirrels?
    -and by killer i mean really fat and bold squirrels that only bit because my son jerked his hand and more scratched it against the hoggy squirrel’s open mouth.

  22. Emily January 26, 2011 at 5:36 am #

    Given the choice between a hill (possible sprained ankle) or poison ivy (horrible itching for days and days), I’d say the poison ivy is much more deserving of a warning sign! It’s one of the things I don’t miss about the United States. 🙂

  23. Elissa January 26, 2011 at 6:56 am #

    This reminds me of a story I heard from a friend when she was doing a volunteer trip with the Park Service in Maine. Her friends decided to float down the river for a while, and after a while one of them got out and walked back to camp. The other girls stayed in and floated a long time because they thought it would loop back around like the Lazy Rivers at the water park. No Joke. They got hopelessly lost over night and were found in the morning.

    When I went on a white water rafting trip, the guide told me that the most frequent question he gets asked is “so does this raft ride on rails?” *face palm* There’s no accounting for stupid.

  24. maggie January 26, 2011 at 6:56 am #

    ever looked at a groundhog up close? Now that’s scary!:)

  25. Jen Connelly January 26, 2011 at 8:27 am #

    This just reminded me of a park we used to take the kids to outside of Pittsburgh. There was this pretty creek running through it and every few feet was a sign posted: no swimming allowed, danger…etc.
    Funny thing was every single family ignored the sign and there were always tons of kids playing in the water.
    For the most part it was completely safe for toddlers. The first time we let them play it was a warm day in May and the water was only about 4″ deep. They slipped and slid along the rocks and eventually took to sitting down in the water. They had so much fun (they were 3, 4 and 5 at the time).
    The creek wasn’t completely safe as we learned later that year. Just on the other side of the creek from where we played that time another branch of the water got really deep. We were walking along it when my 3yo got too close and fell in. She couldn’t swim and panicked, clawing at the steep, slippery side.
    I was too far away to help and my husband was holding our newborn daughter. I thought my 4yo son, who also couldn’t swim, was going to jump in and try to save her. Finally my husband half fell in as he grabbed her by the shirt and pulled her out.
    She was terrified of water for the longest time over that (she’s 8 now and over it and swims like a fish now). It was a lesson learned for all of us. She learned to be more observant of her surroundings. We learned that allowing freedom comes with risks that we accept every day. Not once did we consider never letting them play in the creek again (although she never went back in after that no matter how hard we tried to coax her).
    I really miss that park. Despite that event I have so many fond memories of it and so do the kids (well, maybe not my daughter, lol).

  26. Cheryl W January 26, 2011 at 11:29 am #

    When in the process of moving, my husband stopped at a rest stop in OR. There was a sign there about not letting your dog off leash, because a number of dogs had gone to fetch the stick/ball/toy, and went over the edge of the unfenced 200 foot cliff.

    Now that was a sign to pay attention to. As best he can recall, there was no mention of what you should do with your kids while there. Use common sense I guess!

    I wish I could find a photo, but I have searched the web, and he was there without a camera.

  27. Uly January 26, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    Kind of off the subject, it reminds me of a sign at my local animal shelter. It said “No Cats Allowed” and the shelter was told to take it down because it wasn’t “welcoming”. What, cats can read now??”)

    But unless they’ve started welcoming cats….

  28. maaaty January 26, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    That sign was actually all over the Americas, millions of them, before the Europeans came.

    That must be the last survivor.

  29. Jenny Islander January 27, 2011 at 12:40 am #

    I wish there were signs like this outside my Alaskan town. Or maybe something like:


  30. Donna January 27, 2011 at 8:12 am #

    This is your local nature center, Lenore?

    I haven’t been to NYC in a few years but I can’t imagine that it’s been reclaimed by nature during that time to the extent that such a sign would be necessary (or truthful) anywhere within commuting distance.

  31. Christy Ford January 27, 2011 at 2:32 pm #

    I would have wanted to ask if there was a gingerbread house owned by a witch with cannibalistic tendencies.

  32. Greg January 27, 2011 at 8:53 pm #

    We have a state park near our house. Being coastal South Carolina, and there being water, there be alligators.
    No signs (I don’t think), but a gentle reminder from the park rangers when he takes kids on nature walks, “As you walk by the lake, there may be alligators lying on the bank. Don’t bother them, and they won’t bother you. And remember, they run faster than you do.”
    You know what, in a community like ours where two thirds of the families hunt, or live where some manner of wild animal walks through your yard daily or nightly (even in town), that’s really enough.
    You know what else, no one has ever been bitten by a gator at the park.

  33. Pete Grossman January 27, 2011 at 10:30 pm #

    @Christy – Great comment! Exactly! Thanks!

  34. J.T. Wenting January 31, 2011 at 9:00 pm #

    “I haven’t been to NYC in a few years but I can’t imagine that it’s been reclaimed by nature during that time to the extent that such a sign would be necessary (or truthful) anywhere within commuting distance”

    More likely it’s placed on the EXIT, as the city is far more dangerous than any nature can ever be…

  35. joss February 26, 2011 at 9:44 am #

    It reminds me of the story within Bill Bryson’s A Walk in The Woods where a camping family of 3 come across a black bear and, thinking it cute and Winnie-the-Pooh like, dunk the kid’s hand in honey and hold it out to the bear, thinking the bear would lick it off and what an experience! But instead the bear ate the kid’s hand. Overprotective or demented, it’s all just a lack of common sense.


  1. Tweets that mention How Very Welcoming! « FreeRangeKids -- - January 26, 2011

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