By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Two Pennsylvania women were charged this week for leaving a boardwalk and walking onto a thermal area in Yellowstone National Park.
Tara L. Davoli, 31, and Sarah A. Piotrowski, 30, both of Philadelphia, were observed walking off the boardwalk and into the thermal area on June 11. By walking into the thermal area, there was damage to orange bacterial mats at Opal Pool in the Midway Geyser Basin.
They were sentenced by Federal District Court Magistrate Judge Mark L Carman.
Multiple witnesses saw the two women walking on the feature and confronted them in an effort to get them to stop.
The women each received a sentence of two days in jail, a $350 fine and restitution for each in the amount of $106.92 for damages to Opal Pool. They have been banned from the park for two years and will serve two years unsupervised released.
The amount of restitution was based on a damage assessment conducted by the Yellowstone geologist and a thermal research crew.
“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.”
“We appreciate the support of the Wyoming U.S. Attorney’s Office in continuing to help us protect Yellowstone’s resources,” Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Cam Sholly said in the release. “The successful investigation and prosecution of these types of cases help prevent future degradation of resources committed by irresponsible visitors.”
The National Park Service investigated this case.