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The Big Sky community has several medical facilities that serve residents and visitors. A dental practice is located on US 191 just south of the intersection with Lone Mountain Trail. In Meadow Village, there are two physicians' offices - one in the Meadow Village Shopping Center and another in Town Center. A third medical facility can be found at Big Sky Resort. Need a prescription filled? Use the pharmacy in Meadow Village.
One of the things people love the most about visiting the Rocky Mountain West is the "wild and free" feeling that pervades the entire area. Along with that is a little more responsibility on the traveler for their own safety. Disneyland is a controlled environment, Yellowstone is not. Nearly all injuries and incidents are directly related to stunning lapses of common sense.
Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding areas are abundant with wildlife. It is important to remember that these animals are free in their natural habitat, and we are invaders on their turf. It is not a zoo; there are no barriers between you and the animals, and the responsibility is on you to keep yourself, your children, your pets and the wildlife safe from harm. There are ample photo opportunities, and it can be difficult to resist the temptation to move in close for that great shot. This is always a bad idea. Bison, elk and moose will charge, as will bears. Each and every summer, there are several stories of visitors being injured by getting too close to wild animals. Be respectful, keep your distance, be quiet and you will best enjoy the area's natural wonders.
If you are backpacking or camping, be conscious about how you handle your food. The entire area is bear country, and a few simple precautions can prevent a harrowing experience. Backpackers should hang ALL food each night. Car campers should keep food in the vehicle. Do not sleep in the clothes you cooked in. Try to keep tents upwind of cooking fires. You do not want to go to bed smelling like dinner. If you're fishing, do not gut your fish at camp.
Do not ever feed any wildlife. You will not be doing the animals any favors with handouts. The old adage is "a fed bear is a dead bear". Bears that are fed, either by handouts or inadvertantly, become habituated to human food, and will eventually have an encounter with people This usually results in the bear being destroyed. Read up on bear safety at http://www.centerforwildlifeinformati...
The most common injuries in Yellowstone Park are burns from thermal features. The geyser basins are outfitted with board walks; stay on them. The ground is very thin, and a person can easily punch through unexpectedly and be seriously burned. Keep a close eye on your children. Hot springs can reach boiling temperatures and toxic acidity, so soaking is out of the question, no matter how inviting it looks. The thermal system in Yellowstone is intricate and fragile. Do not throw things into the springs or geysers, as it can permanently alter the features, inhibiting future visitors' ability to enjoy them.
You will usually be out of cell phone range while hiking or skiing in the backcountry. Take a small first aid kit and always be familiar with your location. If you become lost, stay put and await rescue.
The area's waterways are a paradise for anglers, whitewater enthusiasts and swimmers. Be aware of currents and water temperature. In May and June, rivers are swollen with runoff, so wade and swim with extreme caution. The water is quite cold, so hypothermia can set in quickly. Always wear a life jacket and helmet when rafting or kayaking. When inner tubing, never attach a tube to your body, no matter how slow you think the current is. If the tube becomes caught in an obstacle, you can quickly be sucked under.
Every mile of highway in southwest Montana is scenic. Most roads are two-lane rural highways with fairly high speed limits. If you want to enjoy the scenery, pull over. If you have more than three cars stacked in behind you, pull over. Do not pass illegally, ever. Most accidents are caused by the driver leaving the lane; either crossing the center line and colliding with oncoming traffic or by drifting over the shoulder and rolling. Watch for wildlife on the roads, especially around dawn and dusk. If you see an accident or a motorist in distress, stop and help. Sometimes you can help by simply driving to within cell phone range and calling for assistance.
Much of southwest Montana is at altitudes over 6000 feet. Many people wrestle with altitude sickness, especially in the first few days in the area. People with cardiac or respiratory conditions can be particularly affected. Symptoms can include headaches, shortness of breath, nausea or fatigue. Medical attention may be required. Many people experience a lower tolerance for alcohol. Try to keep exertion at a minimum for the first few days in the area, and be sure to have any prescription medication on hand.
It is important to remember that you are responsible for your and your family's safety. Many of the safeguards and hand-holding that exist in other parts of the country are not present here. This is one of the things that make this area so special. Use common sense to preserve both your own safety and the natural beauty that brought you here in the first place.