Tourist Fined $1,000 for Collecting Thermal Water in Yellowstone

FILE - This September, 2009 file photo shows the Norris Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo. Rangers are navigating a dangerous landscape where boiling water flows beneath a fragile rock crust as they search for a man who reportedly fell into a hot spring at Yellowstone National Park. Officials say the safety of park personnel was a top concern during the search in the popular Norris Geyser Basin. The man is presumed dead. (AP Photo/Beth Harpaz, File)

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo.  — A tourist from China was fined USD$1,000 (35, 000 baht) for walking off a boardwalk at Yellowstone National Park and collecting thermal water, apparently for medicinal purposes, park officials said Wednesday.

A witness reported seeing the man break through the fragile, rock crust surrounding the Mammoth Hot Springs area. The witness took photos of the man that were turned over to park rangers, officials said.

The incident came only a week after an Oregon man died after falling into one of Yellowstone’s hot springs.

The Chinese tourist told rangers he did not read the safety information given to him when he entered the park. The man, whose name was not released, reportedly wanted the water for medicinal purposes, said park spokeswoman Charissa Reid.


Reid said in an emailed response to questions about the case the “stiff fine” was levied in large part because of “the irreplaceable nature of the thermal feature.”

The 2.2 million-acre park has seen a string of incidents over the past month where tourists got into trouble.

Some got too close to wildlife and several others walked off boardwalks near hot springs.

On June 7, 23-year-old Colin Nathaniel Scott of Portland slipped on gravel and fell into scalding, acidic water after leaving a boardwalk in the Norris Geyser Basin. Park officials were unable to recover his body.

A day after Scott’s death, six people received USD$130 (4, 600 baht)  citations for walking off trail in the Grand Prismatic Springs area.

Park regulations require visitors to stay on trails and boardwalks for their own safety as well as to protect Yellowstone’s natural resources. It is a violation of federal regulations to collect any park resources.

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