Death Of Yellowstone Tourist Prompts Renewed Warning To Stay On Park Paths

Image courtesy of afagen

The death of a tourist at Yellowstone National Park has officials issuing renewed warnings to visitors to stay on pathways, no matter how enticing a temptation is waiting outside prescribed borders.

A Portland, OR man strayed from a designated boardwalk, slipped on some gravel and fell into the water in a geyser basin with boiling, acidic springs, authorities said.

He and his sister had walked 225 yards or so off the pathway to get closer to some thermal features in the Norris Geyser Basin, the Associated Press reports.

After the sister reported her brother’s fall, rangers attempted to recover his body, but halted the effort “due to the extreme nature and futility of it all,” a park spokeswoman said. No significant human remains were recovered.

Visitors have to stay on designated boardwalks when walking around the hot springs and geysers shooting steaming water, Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk said, saying the tragedy is a reminder to follow those rules.

Since 1890, at least 22 people are known to have died from coming into contact with hot springs in and around Yellowstone, Park officials said. The ground in parts of Yellowstone can be “thin as a skiff of ice,” a park spokeswoman said, though it might not look particularly dangerous.

Attendance is up at the nation’s first national park, but along with that influx of visitors come increased chances of someone getting hurt. Wandering from pathways to get closer to wildlife is another dangerous tourist habit National Park Service officials have been trying to break, after several human run-ins with animals.

Death in boiling hot spring shows importance of park rules [Associated Press]

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