Part of the reason that we love to travel is to show our children the world. We show them other cultures. We love showing them that we live a pretty good life in the United States — that often times involves showing them the best our country has to offer, and for us, that is what Mother Nature has to showcase. Recently, at a vista overlooking Tumalo Falls in the Deschutes National Forest in Oregon, a “family of vandals” brought this notion of respect and traveler ambassador attitudes to the forefront.

Photo: Tumalo Falls Credit: Brett Nelson, via The Oregonian

Photo: Tumalo Falls Credit: Brett Nelson, via The Oregonian

This traveling family didn’t get the memo about respecting our natural, public lands and preserving these places for ALL to enjoy. Apparently while on a hike, a native Oregonian caught a threesome – a dad and his two kids – defacing public property (in the form of hand rails) at an iconic waterfall hike. The man who witnessed the incident then snapped a photo and it has been shared thousands of times on Facebook, in an effort to identify the folks responsible. We tend to agree with the hiker that snapped the photo — when we’re out camping and hiking, we like to find things the way Mother Nature intended them — not with “Bob was here!” etched into the metal, bark, or other surfaces there.

This brings me to the question: have we taught our children respect? Especially to represent our home [town, state, country…] while we are visiting other places?

In our case, I sure hope so. With children so young, I guess it’s too soon to tell for me. But I do hope it is something families consider are preparing for their fun-filled destinations this summer. Make sure to pack some class! In the meantime, since I find this pointless act a childish misstep on the parents’ part, I do hope that the kids learn from this little reminder.

Have you witnessed egregious, ugly tourist behaviors while out and about abroad or otherwise? Have you ever been the ugly tourist? Would you have reacted differently to the bold statements of the some-say spoiled teenagers?