Woman Gets Jail Time For Walking On Yellowstone Thermal Area
A Connecticut woman will serve a week in jail for walking on thermal areas in Yellowstone National Park, the US Attorney's Office announced Wednesday.
According to a news release, 26-year-old Madeline S. Casey was handed the sentence earlier this month.
Casey was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, $40 in fees and a $1,000 community service payment to the Yellowstone Forever Geological Resource Fund.
The US Attorney's Office says Casey was with two others as they made their way up to a thermal pool and geyser in the Norris Geyser Basin. She and another unnamed person got off the boardwalk and were walking on thermal ground.
As is the case with tourist incidents in Yellowstone, there were multiple witnesses who took photos and videos of the party.
Park Public Affairs Officer Morgan Warthin noted that boardwalks in the park exist to protect visitors and delicate thermal formations.
"The ground is fragile and then and scalding water just below the surface can cause severe or fatal burns," Warthin said.
Acting US Attorney Bob Murray said some simply do not appreciate the dangerousness of the "crusty and unstable ground, boiling water and scalding mud."
"(T)he National Park Service does a darn good job of warning them to stay on the boardwalk and trail in thermal areas," Murray said. "Yet there will always be those like Ms. Casey who don't get it. Although a criminal prosecution and jail time may seem harsh, it's better than spending time in a hospital's burn unit."
Assistant US Attorney Stephanie Hambrick prosecuted the case.