A Connecticut woman was sentenced to seven days in jail and ordered to pay over $2,000 in fines for walking across a thermal area in Yellowstone National Park, federal prosecutors said.
According to a press release from the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Wyoming, the woman, identified as 26-year-old Madeline S. Casey, 26, and two others "made their way up to a thermal pool and geyser at Norris Geyser Basin." Casey and another person then got off the boardwalk and were walking on thermal ground.
Soon, multiple bystanders took photos and videos of the three people and shared it with local authorities.
“Boardwalks in geyser basins protect visitors and delicate thermal formation. 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," said Yellowstone National Park Public Affairs Officer Morgan Warthin.
The woman appeared in court on August 18 and was sentenced to seven days imprisonment. She 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.
Speaking about the sentencing, Acting United States Attorney Bob Murray said, "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 trial in thermal areas. 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.”
It was unclear if the other two people who accompanied Casey have also been charged.