The tourist incidents just keep coming and coming at the first national park!
A Chinese man has been fined $1,000 after leaving the boardwalk and collecting water from a hot spring in the latest example of bad tourist behavior in the park.
This latest incident happened in the Mammoth Hot Springs area near the Liberty Cap formation. Witnesses alerted rangers of the man they said walked on the thermal formations on Tuesday. The witness also shared photos taken of the man walking on the feature.
The man also apparently broke through the fragile crust of the travertine formations in the area when he left the walk.
When rangers confronted the man, he admitted to collecting water from the hot springs and to not reading warning signs or safety information given out at the park’s entrances. He was given a federal violation notice requiring an appearance at the Yellowstone Justice Center.
There was no mention of why the man was collecting water from the springs. In addition to the $1,000 fine, he was also ordered to pay a $30 court processing fee.
This latest news is the fourth incident involving the park’s thermal features to make headlines already this summer. An Oregon man died last week in the park after falling into a hot spring in the Norris Geyser Basin about 20 miles to the south of the Mammoth Hot Springs area.
Authorities were only able to recover a few personal belongings of the man. Like this latest incident, the man had wandered off the boardwalk when the accident occurred. The accident happened just a few days after a teenager was burned after falling in another hot spring.
There was also a huge incident at the park’s iconic Grand Prismatic Spring when a group of Canadian tourists left the boardwalk and walked to the delicate edge of the large, colorful spring. Arrest warrants for the men were issued.
Park officials are once again using the incident to remind visitors of the purpose behind boardwalks and railings around the many thermal features in the park.
“Park employees call on all visitors to protect their park and protect themselves. Regulations to stay on designated trails and boardwalks in thermal areas are for visitor safety and the safety of the exceptional park natural resources. Without visitor cooperation, park natural wonders will continue to be damaged and more individuals may be injured or killed. It is a violation of federal regulations to collect any park resources,” a press release stated.
This year is Yellowstone’s 144th year and has to be one of the most frustrating ones in recent memory for park officials. Aside from the thermal incidents, one woman was killed in the park after being struck by a car. Then there was an elk attack, a bison attack and a now world-famous incident of tourists putting wildlife in their car.
Keep in mind, we’re only in mid-June. There’s still another roughly two and a half months of prime tourist season to go!