"Whole New Level Of Stupid": Tourist Drives Car Into Yellowstone Lake

A group of tourists on Saturday decided that viewing Yellowstone Lake from the parking lot wasn't good enough. So they left the road and drove on the beach where they promptly got stuck.

Jimmy Orr

July 02, 20233 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

It takes a lot for Jen Mignard to call someone stupid.

After all, as the creator of the "Yellowstone: Invasion of the Idiots," the popular Facebook page documenting tourists doing stupid things in Yellowstone, Mignard has seen it all.

Mignard saw something on Sunday that even astonished her -- a tourist who left the road and drove their vehicle onto the beach of Yellowstone Lake where they immediately became stuck.

"This is a whole new level of stupid," Mignard told Cowboy State Daily.

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Helping Hands

They would have remained stuck if it wasn't for Rick Tilbury, a tourist from Minnesota who organized a group of people to push the vehicle while he towed it out with his truck.

But in retrospect, Tilbury said he regrets helping them.

"I should have not organized everyone and left them there," Tilbury said on the Facebook page. "Didn't even get a 'thank you' from them. They just jumped into their car and drove off. This is 'The New Day of Me.' Look at me, I'm a social media star."

"These are the type of 'tourons' that ruin it for everyone else," he said.

Commenters on the page, who also see a lot of stupidity, seemed particularly irked at this.

"I would have left their happy ass there and incur all the fines for doing something that stupid," Laura Stewart said.

"Continued decline of America," Mark Gibson moaned.

Mignard said it wasn't the stupidest thing she's seen on her page, however.

"I wouldn’t say top stupid," Mignard said. "Just new stupid."

Against The Law

Even if they have left Yellowstone, as long as someone got the license plate number and turned them in, they'll be coming back.

Yellowstone officials don't look the other way when infractions have been committed.

One Illinois woman who stood too close to a group of grizzlies spent four days in jail, was on probation for a year, and had to pay $2,000.

A Florida man, who had himself filmed while walking on the thermals of Yellowstone’s Grand Prismatic last year, escaped jail time because he turned himself in promptly but was still issued a $2,000 fine.

Many have criticized these sentences and others as being far too light and the reason that tourists continually break the law at Yellowstone and other national parks.

"The sentences are all slaps on the wrist," wildlife photographer Ed Bourvan told Cowboy State Daily. "These idiots pull these pranks for social media clout. They might get a $2,000 fine but they don't care about that. They just want exposure."

"Until the National Park Service gets serious and starts nailing these people, nothing is going to change," he said. "Haven't we learned from San Francisco that if there aren't real consequences, things just get worse and worse?"

Yellowstone Reaction

Linda Veress, a spokesperson for Yellowstone, said this incident would likely be classified as an off-road travel violation which carries a maximum fine of $5,000 and six months in jail.

But it could be higher than that.

"Restitution could be sought for resource damages such as automotive fluids leaking into the lake," Veress said.

Jimmy Orr can be reached at jimmy@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Jimmy Orr

Executive Editor

A third-generation Wyomingite, Jimmy Orr is the executive editor and co-founder of Cowboy State Daily.