Woman Jailed for 7 Days for Walking on Yellowstone Thermal Features

  • A woman who walked on thermal features at Yellowstone National Park has been jailed for seven days.
  • Madeline S. Casey pleaded guilty to the offense and has been banned from the park for two years.
  • A judge also ordered Casey to pay $2,040 in fines, fees, and a community service payment.

A Connecticut woman has been jailed for seven days after she illegally walked on thermal features at Yellowstone National Park, according to a statement published on the National Park Service website on Wednesday.

The statement said Madeline S. Casey, 26, was sentenced for walking on the thermal ground at Norris Geyser Basin on August 18.

It also said Casey was with two other people at Norris Geyser Basin, and was captured on camera by other concerned visitors when she and another person walked on thermal grounds, despite signs warning visitors to stay on the boardwalk.

Casey was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, $40 in fees, and a $1,000 community service payment to the Yellowstone Forever Geological Resource Fund, the statement added.

She pleaded guilty to the petty offense and is also banned from the park for two years, ABC News reports. The publication added that she must serve the jail time and make the payment by the end of January 2o22.

Acting United States Attorney Bob Murray said the National Park Service has put in place warnings that should be followed, and said: “Yet there will always be those like Ms. Casey who don’t get it. Although a criminal prosecution and jail time may seem harsh, it’s better than spending time in a hospital’s burn unit.”

Yellowstone National Park Public Affairs Officer Morgan Warthin said: “Boardwalks in geyser basins protect visitors and delicate thermal formations.” 

“The ground is fragile and thin and scalding water just below the surface can cause severe or fatal burns. More than 20 people have died from burns suffered after they entered or fell into Yellowstone’s hot springs,” she added. 

Casey’s sentence follows two men who pleaded guilty to thermal trespassing on the cone of Old Faithful Geyser in January 2020, the National Park Service reported at the time. They were sentenced to 10 days in jail, ordered to pay $540 restitution, and banned from the park for five years, the report added.

In May 2020, a woman illegally entered the park while it was closed to the public due to COVID-19 restrictions, and was burned by thermal features, CNN reported at the time.

According to the report, the woman told park rangers she was walking backward in order to capture a photograph at Old Faithful Geyser when she fell in.

In October 2020, a 3-year-old was airlifted to hospital after they slipped and then fell into a small thermal feature near Midway Geyser Basin. The child sustained second-degree thermal burns, according to Yellowstone’s news release on the incident.

Casey and her attorney, Ryan Wright, did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Leave a Comment