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Frying frenzy in Death Valley

Viral video has unintended consequences for national park

Death Valley: a wasteland; empty desert; the hottest place on Earth. And the only national park that has had to say this: “…don’t crack eggs on the sidewalk.”

To show just how hot the park gets, a park employee made a video showing an egg frying with nothing but the ambient heat. Now everybody’s doing it.

But unlike the conscientious park employee who used a pan to fry up his breakfast, some park goers are just using the sidewalk. So many eggs, egg cartons and shells litter the park that they’ve taken to Facebook to try to stop the frying frenzy.

“An employee’s posting of frying an egg in a pan in Death Valley was intended to demonstrate how hot it can get here,” the park posted. “With the recommendation that if you do this, use a pan or tin foil and properly dispose of the contents. However, the Death Valley NP maintenance crew has been busy cleaning up eggs cracked directly on the sidewalk, including egg cartons and shells strewn across the parking lot.”

Even worse than the garbage, is the smell. The eggs are not really cooking on the sidewalks, roads and rocks that people are trying to fry on.

Cheryl Chipman, spokeswoman for Death Valley National Park, voiced employees’ frustrations at the situation.

“129 degrees is pretty darn hot,” Chipman said. “And when you have to spend energy and time cleaning up a gooey stinking mess, you lose a little bit of faith in humanity.”

Chipman is not against the experiment, which can teach people about weather, along with Death Valley. She just advises bringing a pan and cleaning up when you’re done.

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