The vast wilderness of Yellowstone National Park may be the country’s crown jewel, but it’s also incredibly dangerous.
The world’s first national park features about half the active geysers in the world. Those geothermal attractions, however, are the site’s deadliest natural wonder.
So it’s baffling when visitors behave obnoxiously, endangering themselves and others. It’s not a new phenomenon, though.
The trio looked to be headed back to a boardwalk, though park rules state people should never leave the safety of such pathways.
“Three young tourons taking a stroll on the Grand Prismatic hot spring,” the caption stated. “One of them is barefoot.”
“Unbelievable,” one commenter wrote. “And the damage they’re doing to that delicate and complex echo system is heart breaking.”
Another said, “People get more disrespectful with every year. Facial recognition technology is advanced enough to pinpoint these people. Maybe it’s time for substantial fines, banning from all parks for a period of time or even closing parks for a week to get their attention. I watch it get worse every year and I don’t know what the answer is.”
Grand Prismatic Spring is the most photographed thermal feature in the park because of its size and kaleidoscope of colors.
“Hot springs have injured or killed more people in Yellowstone than any other natural feature,” according to the National Park Service. “Keep your children close and don’t let them run.”
Other key guidelines include never approaching wildlife, never feeding wildlife, and never parking in the road or blocking traffic.
There are seven major thermal areas in Yellowstone that are accessible to tourists, who are advised to not touch the features or runoff. Swimming or soaking in hot springs is also prohibited.
“More than 20 people have died from burns suffered after they entered or fell into Yellowstone’s hot springs,” the NPS stated. “Toxic gases may accumulate to dangerous levels in some hydrothermal areas. If you begin to feel sick while exploring one of our geyser basins, leave the area immediately.”
Hot springs occur when rainwater seeps through bedrock, gets superheated by the underground magmatic system, rises to the surface, cools, sinks, and is replaced by more superheated rainwater. They are the most common hydrothermal feature in Yellowstone, and they don’t get hot enough to erupt because of these convection currents.
Many users noted fines and bans should be handed out to travelers who spoil the pristine lands. Others reasoned that nothing would be enough to deter such foolish behavior.
“Hardheaded and think they can do whatever they want!” one commenter said. “It’s gonna come down one day where freedom and doing whatever you want ain’t happening anymore. One bad apple!”
Another wrote, “Honestly— I don’t even want to go to these places because of these clowns. I’d be mad the entire time.”
Join our free newsletter for cool news and cool tips that make it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.