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Home National & State Parks Yellowstone Yellowstone Visitors Ticketed For Walking On Old Faithful

Yellowstone Visitors Ticketed For Walking On Old Faithful

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Members of a tour group to Yellowstone National Park may have thought they were getting a really close view of Old Faithful, but what they ended up getting were citations for walking on the cone of the world's most famous geyser.

Park rangers said it was an individual from Wisconsin who called them April 27, 2011 after watching the situation unfold on the Old Faithful live streaming web cam. When the first park ranger arrived on the scene Wednesday evening, she found approximately 30 visitors off the boardwalk, standing around the cone of the geyser taking photographs.
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After getting them safely back on the boardwalk, members of the group told the ranger they had not seen any of the numerous and prominent signs they walked past which warn visitors of the dangers found in thermal areas and of the requirement to stay on boardwalks and designated trails.

The tour group leader, the bus driver, and one member of the first group of four visitors who walked off the boardwalk were cited for being off trail in a thermal area, a violation of federal law with a $125 fine.

Articles in the park's free newspaper, information on the park's web site, podcasts, and on signs posted throughout the park, all remind visitors to stay on boardwalks and established trails when visiting Yellowstone.

For their safety and the safety of others, visitors are told to keep children close and not to run on boardwalks or on trails in thermal areas. Pets are not allowed in or near thermal areas. Swimming in the hot pools is prohibited.

Unfortunately, almost every year one or more visitors who ignore all these warnings fall through the fragile, thin crust in a thermal area and are burned by the boiling water beneath.

There are more than 10,000 geysers, hot springs, mud pots, and steam vents in Yellowstone National Park, the largest collection of hydrothermal features anywhere in the world. Old Faithful erupts about every 90 minutes, shooting a column of boiling water and steam 130 feet or more into the air.

This is not the first time a web cam viewer has notified park rangers about visitors off boardwalk and on the cone of Old Faithful.

The most famous prior incident occurred in May 2009, when six visitors were spotted urinating in the geyser cone. They were found guilty of a variety of charges, with one of the six fined $750, placed on three years of probation, and banned from the park for two years.

Established in 1872, Yellowstone National Park is America's first national park. Located in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, it is home to a large variety of wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, bison, and elk.

Preserved within Yellowstone National Park are Old Faithful and a collection of the world's most extraordinary geysers and hot springs, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

Yellowstone, as a whole, possesses close to 60 percent of the world's geysers.

The Upper Geyser Basin is home to the largest numbers of this fragile feature found in the park. Within one square mile there are at least 150 of these hydrothermal wonders. Of this remarkable number, only five major geysers are predicted regularly by the naturalist staff. They are Castle, Grand, Daisy, Riverside, and Old Faithful.

There are many frequent, smaller geysers to be seen and marveled at in this basin as well as numerous hot springs and one recently developed mudpot (if it lasts).

For more information about Yellowstone, including rules and regulations, visit the park's Web site at
www.nps.gov/yell .


 
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