A Yellowstone visitor was fined $1,000 after collecting thermal water from the Mammoth Hot Springs. The man, who was identified as a Chinese national, was seen by another visitor walking on the terrace formations near the 45-foot tall Liberty Cap.
Investigators located the man, who said he had not read the safety information given to visitors at the entrance to Yellowstone and admitted to collecting water from the hot springs, according to the Yellowstone National Park Service. He was given the fine and a $30 court processing fee. Authorities said he would be required to appear in the Yellowstone Justice Center Court for “boardwalk travel in a thermal area.”
“The visitor also reported seeing the individual break through the fragile travertine crust,” according to park rangers. Park regulations require visitors to stay on designated trails and boardwalks at Yellowstone, both for visitor safety and to protect the park’s natural resources, the Idaho State Journal reports.
“Without visitor cooperation, park natural wonders will continue to be damaged and more individuals may be injured or killed,” Yellowstone National Park officials said in a news release.
Park rangers said a father and son suffered burns on June 6 after they walked off a designated trail in the Upper Geyser Basin. One day later 23-year-old Colin Nathaniel Scott, of Portland, Oregon, walked off a boardwalk and slipped and fell into a hot spring at Yellowstone’s Norris Geyser Basin. He did not survive.
“This tragic event must remind all of us to follow the regulations and stay on boardwalks when visiting Yellowstone’s geyser basins,” Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk said in a statement.
The case was the latest in a series of high-profile incidents at the national park. A Canadian tourist was cited in May after trying to help what he thought was an abandoned bison calf. The animal was later euthanized because its pack refused to take it back in, according to park officials.
Brandon Gauthier, the park’s chief safety officer, said that despite the park service’s warnings, “people will do what they want to do.” When Wiggins took his own young children to the park’s hot springs, “I held onto them very tightly, and we didn’t go off the trail. Yellowstone’s a beautiful place, but it’s also a very dangerous place.”
Especially to those who behave carelessly or recklessly. Anyone who pays attention to warnings and stays on the boardwalks, should be just fine, The Leader reported.
“We try to educate people starting when they come through the gate,” Gauthier says. Park managers have installed guard rails near some features, but they walk a fine line between giving visitors a chance to get close to popular attractions and ruining the natural landscapes that national parks were created to preserve. Yellowstone rangers stress that it’s important for parents to keep a close eye on curious and rambunctious children when they visit thermal water areas