Two Men Sentenced for Walking on Old Faithful in Yellowstone

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A Colorado man and a New York man were sentenced to 10 days in jail for trespassing on the cone of the Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park, according to federal court and park records.

Eric Schefflin, 20, of Lakewood, Colo., and Ryan Goetz, 25, of Woodstock, N.Y., on Dec. 5 pleaded guilty to the trespassing charges before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Carman at the Yellowstone Justice Center in Mammoth Hot Springs.

The case started on Sept. 10, when employees and visitors saw two individuals walking on the cone and reported it to park dispatch.

A ranger contacted Schefflin and Goetz and cited them.

Besides the 10-day jail sentence, Carmen ordered them to pay $540 in restitution, serve five years of unsupervised probation.

Chief Ranger Sarah Davis said in a prepared statement that walking on thermal features is dangerous, damages the resource, and illegal.

“Law enforcement officers take this violation seriously,” Davis said. “Yellowstone National Park also appreciates the court for recognizing the impact thermal trespass can have on these amazing features.”

The ground in hydrothermal areas is fragile and thin, and scalding water lies just below the surface. Visitors must always remain on boardwalks and exercise extreme caution around thermal features.

Learn more about safety in thermal areas at go.nps.gov/yellsafety.


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