MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, Wyoming — An Idaho Falls man and two others were in hot water after being found with cooking pots and two chickens in a thermal area of Yellowstone National Park.
A ranger received reports on Aug. 7 that a group was hiking toward Shoshone Geyser Basin with cooking pots, a park spokeswoman told EastIdahoNews.com Friday. The ranger responded and discovered two whole chickens in a burlap sack sitting in a hot spring with a cooking pot nearby.
The ranger spoke with the group of 10, including a child. The Idaho Falls man and two others were cited for foot travel in a thermal area. He was also ordered to appear in a Mammoth Hot Springs court.
The man pleaded guilty to the citation on Sept. 10, in addition to a charge for violating closures and use limits. He was ordered to pay a $600 fine for each charge and will serve two years of unsupervised probation. During that time, he is banned from Yellowstone National Park.
This isn’t the first time park visitors have been in trouble for trying to cook chicken near a geyser. In 2001, a Seattle television show host and producer dug a hole in the park to show how natural heat could cook chicken. The show was reportedly fined $150 and placed on two-year probation for disturbing mineral deposits in a national park and stepping off trails near steaming geysers.
Traveling off boardwalks or designated trails in hydrothermal areas, along with placing anything into thermal features, is prohibited in Yellowstone. Hot springs have injured or killed more people in the park than any other natural feature, according to Yellowstone’s website.