Two Pennsylvania women sentenced for damaging ecosystem in Yellowstone National Park
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WEST YELLOWSTONE, Montana — Two Pennsylvania women have been sentenced for being off-trail in a thermal area of Yellowstone National Park and damaging the local ecosystem.
Federal District Court Magistrate Judge Mark L Carman recently sentenced Tara L. Davoli, 31, and Sarah A. Piotrowski, 30, both of Philadelphia to two days of jail time. He also ordered them to pay a $350 fine and each make restitution of $106.92 for damages to Opal Pool. The women have also been banned from Yellowstone National Park for two years and will serve two years of unsupervised probation.
The amount of restitution was based on a damage assessment conducted by the Yellowstone geologist and a thermal research crew, according to a Yellowstone Park news release.
The charges stemmed from a June 11 incident where both women were observed off the boardwalk walking in a thermal area, which resulted in damage to orange bacterial mats at Opal Pool in the Midway Geyser Basin. Multiple witnesses observed the two walking on the feature and confronted them in an effort to get them to stop, the news release said.
“The 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.” U.S. Attorney Mark A. Klaassen said in a news release. “We 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.”
The National Park Service investigated this case.