Yellowstone Hot Spring
Travis Smola

Man Caught Trying to Cook Chicken in Yellowstone Hot Spring Fined and Banned From Park

Man gets a citation for trying to cook chicken in Yellowstone hot spring.

We really should know better than to think the endless parade of weird 2020 headlines was anywhere near ending. Now it comes out that an Idaho man received a citation after attempting to cook chicken in a Yellowstone hot spring.

This weird little nugget was first reported by the East Idaho News, who say that the incident happened back on August 7 in the northern part of the park at Mammoth Hot Springs.

A group of hikers in the Shoshone Geyser Basin spotted a group of 10 people with cooking pots and decided to report the unusual activity. A responding park ranger quickly discovered what was going on.

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In one of the hot springs, the ranger discovered a burlap sack with two whole chickens inside. He also found the reported cooking pot nearby. Yellowstone has strict rules about off-boardwalk travel in thermal areas. Those rules also prohibit placing anything into one of the park's many hot springs or geyser features.

The Ranger ended up citing three men for off-boardwalk travel. The one who allegedly put the chicken in the hot spring also got a charge for violating closures and use limits of the area. He appeared in Mammoth Springs court on September 10 where he pleaded guilty to both.

The unnamed man then received a $600 fine and a two-year ban from Yellowstone while he serves two years of unsupervised probation.

This type of violation is not uncommon in the nation's first National Park. Rangers often hand out citations for off-boardwalk travel. Park officials are constantly battling this type of behavior. They do have a good reason. Many people have been severely burned or killed by the park's thermal features in the past.

There was already one high-profile hot springs incident earlier this year before the park even opened. Like many places, Yellowstone opened for the tourist season late due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. On May 18, 2020, a woman snuck into the park and fell into a thermal feature near Old Faithful. She ended up being taken to a hospital for treatment and authorities are still investigating the incident. Yellowstone officially most of their major roadways on November 2, so that should be the end of most major tourist incidents in the park in 2020.

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