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Video of Yellowstone tourist risking it all for online clout sparks outrage: ‘You need to leave the park right now’

“Ban her now from all National Parks!”

"Ban her now from all National Parks!"

Photo Credit: Instagram

The lengths some people will go to for attention on social media never ceases to amaze.

TikToker Katharine Bethel (@catbethel) filmed herself going off the designated paths at Yellowstone National Park to take a closer look at a thermal pool.

Unfortunately, she didn’t stop there. Despite telling her viewers that it was not a good idea to touch the hydrothermal feature, you’ll never guess what she did next.

“I do not suggest you do this, it is harmful,” she said, right before she dipped her fingers into the liquid. A repost of the video on Reddit called her out for “attempting to show off.” 

Instantly, she discovered just why there are signs and warnings all over the park to remain on the boardwalks and trails and to not touch the hot springs, yanking her hand away from the pool and yelling, “That f****** b**** is hot.” 

According to Kool 96.5, she uploaded the footage to her own TikTok account, but she soon realized what she had done was illegal, and she had inadvertently provided proof. 

Although she locked her account, the internet never forgets. According to Advnture, the video was recorded several years ago, yet the video was also recently posted to the Tourons of Yellowstone Instagram page (@touronsofyellowstone).  

Not only are the pools scalding hot, likely resulting in some serious burns if touched by bare skin, but many are also acidic to the point they can burn holes in clothing.

“Swimming or soaking in hot springs is prohibited,” Yellowstone’s website reads. “More than 20 people have died from burns suffered after they entered or fell into Yellowstone’s hot springs.”

In addition to putting herself in danger, Bethel also risked damaging the breakable crusts and delicate mats of color that surround the springs, which are made up of microorganisms known as thermophiles

While this is not the first example of someone acting as though the rules don’t apply to them around hot springs — even actor Pierce Brosnan apparently thought he could rely on his celebrity privilege — Bethel was lucky she just burned her fingertips.

HuffPost reported a man from Oregon died in 2016 after falling into a hot spring at Yellowstone. In 2022, the foot of a missing Los Angeles resident was found floating in the park’s Abyss Pool, with USA Today sharing the AP’s report.

Bethel was reported to park rangers at the time, according to the Instagram post, and the punishment for her actions could’ve been as minimal as a ban from national parks or as much as time in jail.

“You need to leave the park right now,” one Instagrammer said, with another adding, “Ban her now from all National Parks!!!!!”

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