The National Park Service issued a $1,000 fine to a Chinese national who walked off the boardwalk in the Mammoth Hot Springs thermal area at Yellowstone National Park Tuesday.
Additionally, the man had to pay $30 court processing fee.
Another park visitor saw him walk off the trail and reported he walked on the terrace formations near Liberty Cap and collected thermal water. The visitor also reported seeing the man break through the fragile travertine (limestone) crust.
A park ranger took the witness statement, photos and location of the violation. After an investigation by law enforcement the man was identified. He told officials that he did not read the safety information given to him at the park entrance and admitted to collecting hot springs water.
He was issued a federal violation notice requiring a mandatory appearance in the Yellowstone Justice Center Court for off boardwalk travel in a thermal area. Park rangers said they appreciate the willingness of the witness to document and report the violation.
Park employees ask all visitors to protect the park and themselves. Regulations to stay on designated trails and boardwalks in thermal areas exist for visitor safety and the safety of the park’s natural resources. Without visitor cooperation, park natural wonders will continue to be damaged and more individuals could be injured or killed. It is a violation of federal regulations to collect any park resources, thus the fine issued to the visitor.
For information on safety around thermal features, visit go.nps.gov/yellsafety.