Credit: Kevin Jones/Facebook

Yellowstone Graffiti Sparks Outrage After ‘Nick’ Defaces Thermal Feature

To the chagrin of many, "Nick" and his friend wanted everybody to know that they "were here" at Biscuit Basin in Yellowstone National Park.

Tourists doing dumb things at Yellowstone National Park is nothing new. If you follow outdoor news, you're no stranger to social media channels like Tourons of Yellowstone which shares pictures of people getting way too close to wildlife or ignoring signage stating "keep out." While it's all concerning, one recent image in particular has people peeved.

A member of the Facebook group "Yellowstone National Park: Invasion of the Idiots" shared an image of a message scratched into the biscuit-like crust at the Biscuit Basin boardwalk, saying "Nick and (unreadable) were here." Besides notifying the public about where they've been, almost nothing is known about Nick and his friend. What is certain, though, is that the message was discovered around May 27.


"Nick & (unreadable) were here" was scratched into the ground off the boardwalk at Biscuit Basin in Yellowstone National Park. Credit: Kevin Jones/Facebook

In the comments, members expressed both anger and concern. In the most popular response, a member said, "I'd like to stake them out over a hill full of fire ants!" and another said, "Such a shame. No respect." However, others were more constructive. "If you see this happening, please take their picture and get their license plate and turn them into the Rangers. They do follow up on this stuff and issue citations," said another member.

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What makes this message so frustrating is that it kind of breaks all of the rules. Nick had to leave the boardwalk while everybody else had to walk on it. He could have put others in danger because he put himself in danger by walking off the boardwalk and onto a geothermal area. And he carved a message into an extremely sensitive piece of land.

The dangers and penalties of entering Yellowstone's thermal areas

According to the National Park Service, Yellowstone is essentially a massive volcano beneath the surface, which makes the water in certain areas hot and acidic. That's why you have geysers and hot springs that smell like sulfur. In turn, direct exposure to the waters can be extremely dangerous.

Although the Park Service has not released a statement on the incident, we can take an educated guess on what kind of penalties Nick might face if he's caught. In the past, Park Rangers cited violators like Pierce Brosnan $1,500 for trespassing. And under federal law, vandalism carries a punishment of up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine.