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More trespassing in Yellowstone

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June 19, 2020

Women Jailed And Fined For Damaging Yellowstone Thermal Feature

       Two Philadelphia women were jailed and fined for trespassing at Yellowstone National Park's Midway Geyser Basin earlier this month. The duo trampled the colorful bacterial mat that surrounds Opal Pool.

The women, Tara L. Davoli, 31, and Sarah A. Piotrowski, 30, also are banned from the park for two years, a period during which they'll be on unsupervised probation, U.S. Attorney Mark A. Klaassen said Thursday.

The mats that ring many of the hot springs and line geyser runoff channels in Yellowstone are formed by a bacterium called Thermocrinis, which is descended from ancient bacteria that metabolized hydrogen and oxygen, notes the park's website. "Its filaments entwine, forming mats. Flowing water carries other microbes, organic matter, and minerals that become caught in the streamers and add to the mat," the site adds.

According to the U.S. Attorney's office, the women were charged with being off trail on the orange bacterial mats surrounding Opal Pool on June 11. "Multiple witnesses observed the two walking on the feature and confronted them in an effort to get them to stop," the office said. 

Along with being ordered to spend two nights in jail, Davoli and Piotrowski each were ordered to pay a $350 fine and restitution in the amount of $106.92 for damages to the thermal feature. The amount of restitution was based on a damage assessment conducted by the Yellowstone geologist and a thermal research crew. 

β€œThe rules in our National Parks are there for a reason - to protect visitors and the natural beauty we all want to experience and enjoy. Just taking a few steps off the boardwalk in a thermal area may seem harmless, but it can really damage the ecosystem and potentially put visitors in danger,” said Klaassen. β€œWe support the National Park Service and park rangers who work to enforce these rules so we can all continue to enjoy amazing places like Yellowstone and preserve the park for future generations.”

 Their fine; $457 and two nights in jail after appearing before the federal magistrate in the park, per The National Parks Traveler.


RELATED ==================

May 13, 2020

Yellowstone National Park trespasser burned by fall Into thermal water

      Yellowstone rangers are investigating how a woman entered the park illegally and fell into a thermal feature near Old Faithful.

A woman who illegally ventured into Yellowstone National Park with hopes of photographing Old Faithful - while the park is still closed due to the pandemic - somehow stumbled into a thermal feature and sustained serious burns.

The woman, whose name has not been released by park officials, was backing up to take a picture of the iconic geyser when she fell into a hot spring Tuesday morning, park spokesperson Morgan Warthin said Wednesday in an email. The woman then managed to drive nearly 50 miles north towards Mammoth Hot Springs before being stopped by a ranger, Warthin added.

"Due to her injuries, she was life-flighted to the Burn Center at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center," she said.

Yellowstone holds the world's greatest collection of thermal features, with some 10,000. The park enables safe viewing of hot springs, geysers, mudpots, and fumaroles through the use of boardwalks, defined trails, and patrolling rangers. Stray from a boardwalk or trail and you risk breaking through thin surface crusts rimming the features and being dropped into, or stumbling into, boiling, acidic waters.

The park has been closed to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic; exactly when it will reopen has not been announced.

Few answers were provided revolving around the incident, as it still was under investigation. It was not immediately known how the woman got into the park, whether she was alone, how much of her body was burned, the degree of burns, what thermal feature she fell into, whether she was a park employee or worker for a business operating in the park, or whether she was cited.

In 2016 an Oregon man walked far off the boardwalk in Yellowstone's Norris Geyser Basin and fell into an unnamed hot spring and was dissolved by the hot waters, his body never found. Prior to that, the last known fatality related to one of the park's hot springs was in 2000, when three concessions workers fell into a thermal feature in the park's Lower Geyser Basin. Sara Hulphers, 22, of Washington state, received the most severe burns and died in a Salt Lake City hospital, park officials said at the time.

In September 2018 a man was arrested after leaving the boardwalk ringing Old Faithful and walking up to the geyser's cone.

Park visitors die more often from falling into Yellowstone's thermal features than from grizzly bear attacks, according to long-time park historian Lee Whittlesey.

The park has around 10,000 hot springs, geysers, mudpots, and steam vents scattered over its mountain plateau. Though collectively called thermal features today, all are technically hot springs. Most are hotter than 150 degrees F and many reach temperatures of 185-205 degrees F.


AllAccessSportingNews

AllAccessSportingNews

Ran DeBord - All Access Sporting News

 Follow @AASNSports on Twitter, or me, @RanDeBord

Attributes: AASNSports; NPS;NationalParksTraveler;  Lee Whittlesey


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