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Woman Sentenced to Jail for Walking on Thermal Ground in Yellowstone National Park

News National Parks
by Jori Ayers Aug 27, 2021

A Connecticut woman was sentenced to seven days in jail for walking on thermal grounds at Yellowstone National Park.

According to a press release issued by the national park, in July, Madeline S. Casey and two others got off the boardwalk and walked on the thermal ground around the park’s Norris Geyser Basin.

People who witnessed the incident took photos and videos of the three. Norris Geyser Basin is well marked with signs ordering visitors to stay on the boardwalk.

“Boardwalks in geyser basins protect visitors and delicate thermal formations,” said Yellowstone National Park Public Affairs Officer Morgan Warthin. “The ground is fragile and thin and scalding water just below the surface can cause severe or fatal burns. More than 20 people have died from burns suffered after they entered or fell into Yellowstone’s hot springs.”

On August 25, 2021, the 26-year-old was sentenced to spend seven days in jail. Casey was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, $40 in fees, and a $1,000 community service payment to the park’s Forever Geological Resource Fund. She is banned from entering the park for two years.

Incidents involving tourists who ignore signs and park’s advice happen regularly at Yellowstone National Park.

In August 2020, a man was caught trying to cook chickens in a Yellowstone hot spring and was banned from the park.

In May 2020, a woman was attacked by a bison after getting too close to the animal. That same month, a woman suffered burns after trespassing, walking on thermal ground, and falling into a thermal feature.

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