Madeline S. Casey (26) received a 7-day prison sentence for walking on thermal ground at Norris Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park. She was also banned from the park for two years and ordered to pay a fine of $2,040.
From a statement issued by the National Park Service:
Casey was with two other people as they made their way up to a thermal pool and geyser at Norris Geyser Basin. She and one other person got off the boardwalk and were walking on thermal ground. Multiple other people were concerned and took photos and videos of the three. Norris Geyser Basin is an area well marked with signs and warnings 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."
"For those who lack a natural ability to appreciate the dangerousness of crusty and unstable ground, boiling water, and scalding mud, the National Park Service does a darn good job of warning them to stay on the boardwalk and trail in thermal areas," said Acting United States Attorney Bob Murray. "Yet there will always be those like Ms. Casey who don't get it. Although a criminal prosecution and jailtime may seem harsh, it's better than spending time in a hospital's burn unit."
[image: Yellowstone thermal features are courtesy of NPS/Yellowstone National Park]