Man Tries to Cook Chickens in Yellowstone Hot Spring, Gets Banned From National Park

An Idaho man was banned from Yellowstone National Park for two years after allegedly trying to cook chickens using a hot spring in a thermal area.

The man was ordered to pay $1,200 after pleading guilty to multiple charges—including foot travel in a thermal area and violating closures and use limits—inside a Mammoth Hot Springs court on September 10, the East Idaho News first reported.

Three suspects were cited on August 7 after a ranger received a report that a group of 10, including a child, were hiking towards the Shoshone Geyser Basin with cooking pots. They were found with two chickens in a sack, placed inside a hot spring.

The suspect from Idaho Falls, who was not identified by name, was ordered by the court to serve two years unsupervised probation and pay $600 in fines for each charge.

It was ruled he was not allowed to return to Yellowstone National Park during that time.

Yellowstone has the biggest concentration of active geysers in the world and boasts over 10,000 thermal features. It is against park rules to travel off boardwalks or designated trails inside hydrothermal areas or place anything into thermal features. Water in the hot springs can cause fatal burns, due to scalding liquid under the thin, breakable crust around the springs.

According to Yellowstone officials, more than 20 people have died from burns suffered after they entered or fell into hot springs. The park says warning signs and boardwalks that allow people to get close to the geyser fields are clearly visible to visitors.

But with four million people traveling to the park every year, local authorities say some still flout the rules, often with deadly consequences.

On June 7, 2016, a 23-year-old man called Colin Scott died after falling into a hot spring near Porkchop Geyser after illegally leaving a boardwalk with his sister. Rangers said they were unable to recover his body, but later found some of his belongings.

Only one day earlier, a 13-year-old boy was hospitalized after being burned on his ankle and foot after his father slipped near Old Faithful geyser. The park said in a release at the time that the pair had "walked off the designated trail in the thermal area."

More recently, on October 9 this year, a three-year-old suffered second-degree thermal burns to their lower body and back after falling into a small thermal feature.

"This incident is under investigation," officials said in a statement. "This is the second significant injury in a thermal area in 2020. In May of this year a visitor who illegally entered the park fell into a thermal feature at Old Faithful while backing up and taking photos."

Yellowstone National Park geyser
Heart Spring one of many geysers in Yellowstone National Park is seen in Wyoming on June 11, 2019. An Idaho man was banned from Yellowstone National Park after allegedly trying to cook chickens using a hot spring. DANIEL SLIM/AFP/Getty