A tourist at Yellowstone is likely in hot water with park rangers after strolling up to Old Faithful to take a photo.
On Saturday, visitors to Yellowstone National Park spotted a fellow guest leaving the designated Old Faithful viewing area and walking dangerously close to the geyser, which a witness said was scheduled to erupt any minute.
“Shameful behavior at #Yellowstone this morning,” tweeted parkgoer Devin Bartolotta, who also shared footage of what appeared to be the man walking back toward the boardwalk area, presumably after taking his snapshot at the geyser.
“While hundreds of people waited for Old Faithful to go off, some guy shamelessly walked within feet of the geyser to take a picture, then flipped off the boo-ing crowd,” she added.
Bartolotta later told KECI that most of the other visitors assumed the man was a park ranger until they saw him whip out his phone for a photo, at which point they all started booing.
“He was well within the danger zone of this being a potential life-threatening situation because it could have gone off at any time,” she told the outlet.
She added on Twitter that she watched as park staffers followed the man out to a parking area, but could not confirm what happened once they caught up to him.
“How does somebody get so bold that they'd risk life [and] damaging protected public lands for a cellphone picture??” she tweeted. “The ignorance and ego is unreal.”
A spokesperson for Yellowstone National Park was not immediately available to confirm whether the visitor will be fined.
However, similar behaviors have been met with harsh punishment in the past. In September 2018, rangers at Yellowstone apprehended a man who attempted to urinate into Old Faithful after leaving the boardwalk and walking up to the geyser. And two workers were fired for urinating into the geyser in 2009, in an incident reportedly caught on the park’s webcam.
Visitors to Yellowstone are urged to view Old Faithful’s eruptions from the designated viewing area or on the boardwalks that “weave around the geyser” due to the extreme heat and steam of the hydrothermal activity (the water can reach 204 degrees F, while the steam can reach 350 F), according to the National Park Service.
“Hot springs have injured or killed more people in Yellowstone than any other natural feature,” the NPS warns online, not just of Old Faithful but of the parks numerous other hydrothermal geysers. “Keep your children close and don’t let them run.”