How Technological Self-Confidence is Changing the Outdoors

Does technology and the sense of confidence it tends to instill actually cause more trouble than it's worth? Maybe, according to this story in the New York Times:

Cathy Hayes was cracking jokes as she recorded a close encounter with a buffalo on her camera in a recent visit to Yellowstone National Park. "Watch Donald get gored," she said as her companion hustled toward a grazing one-ton beast for a closer shot with his own camera. Seconds later, as if on cue, the buffalo lowered its head, pawed the ground and charged, injuring, as it turns out, Ms. Hayes. "We were about 30, 35 feet, and I zoomed in on him, but that wasn't far enough, because they are fast," she recounted later in a YouTube video displaying her bruised and cut legs. _The national parks' history is full of examples of misguided visitors feeding bears, putting children on buffalos for photos and dipping into geysers despite signs warning of scalding temperatures. But today, as an ever more wired and interconnected public visits the parks in rising numbers -- July was a record month for visitors at Yellowstone -- rangers say that technology often figures into such mishaps.

People with cellphones call rangers from mountaintops to request refreshments or a guide; in Jackson Hole, Wyo., one lost hiker even asked for hot chocolate. A French teenager was injured after plunging 75 feet this month from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon when he backed up while taking pictures. And last fall, a group of hikers in the canyon called in rescue helicopters three times by pressing the emergency button on their satellite location device. When rangers arrived the second time, the hikers explained that their water supply "tasted salty." "Because of having that electronic device, people have an expectation that they can do something stupid and be rescued," said Jackie Skaggs, spokeswoman for Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. "Every once in a while we get a call from someone who has gone to the top of a peak, the weather has turned and they are confused about how to get down and they want someone to personally escort them," Ms. Skaggs said. "The answer is that you are up there for the night."_

Your thoughts? Too much technology or too little common sense?