A man visiting Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming was fined $1,000 for collecting thermal water from one of the famous hot springs Tuesday.
It is explicitly forbidden to travel “off boardwalks or designated trails in hydrothermal areas,” according to the National Park Service’s Rules and Regulations for Yellowstone National Park. The statute is assumedly in place to keep visitors safe from the volatile and volcanic hot springs that are a main feature of the park’s natural wonders. Earlier in June, a tourist “left a boardwalk and fell into a boiling, acidic spring in Yellowstone” and died, according to the Associated Press.
Many states around the country have statutes making it illegal to collect water from natural sources like rain. In this instance, the monetary penalty was enforced because not only is it a violation of federal regulations to collect any park resources like water, but to also reiterate the dangers of wandering off from the designated trails.
The man was reported by another park-goer who saw the him “break through the terrace’s travertine crust.”
“It wasn’t just a short little jaunt,” Charissa Reid, a Yellowstone spokesperson told reporters, adding officials are still assessing the damage caused.
She hopes that the penalty will send a message to future park attendees that they take their rules seriously. “It’s a really expensive rule to break,” Reid stressed.
The man, who is not named by authorities, admitted that he did not read the safety information that is routinely provided to visitors upon entry and will also have to pay a $30 court processing free in addition to his $1,000 fine.
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