Flag-waving tourist who ran across Old Faithful is banned from Yellowstone, park says

Tourists waiting for the iconic Old Faithful geyser to erupt got a different sight: a man running through the area while waving an American flag.

A 37-year-old traveled more than 2,000 from Maine to Yellowstone National Park last July, park officials said. While he was there, he ran through the Old Faithful thermal area multiple times to get the attention of tourists, the National Park Service said.

“On July 7, 2020, while wearing a raccoon skin hat and waving an American flag, (the man) ran out on the thermal area and up to the geyser of Old Faithful more than once,” Yellowstone rangers said Friday in a news release. “He then failed to appear for his court hearing on July 23, 2020, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.”

Nearly a year later, the man was arrested in Maine and appeared at the Yellowstone Justice Center. He pleaded guilty to trespassing on Old Faithful and will spend 15 days in prison.

The man was also ordered to pay a $200 fine in addition to $30 in court costs and a $10 fee. He is also banned from Yellowstone National Park.

People from all over the world travel to Yellowstone to see Old Faithful, the National Park Service said. The geyser helped Yellowstone become the world’s first national park.

It’s one of nearly 500 geysers in the national park.

“The ground in hydrothermal areas is fragile and thin, and there is scalding water just below the surface,” parks officials have said. “Visitors must always remain on boardwalks and trails and exercise extreme caution around thermal features.”

People have been seriously injured from falling into the water in Yellowstone. In May, a visitor fell into scalding-hot water at Old Faithful while trying to take photos, the park said.

In 2016, an Oregon man may have dissolved after trying to soak in a thermal area. Workers couldn’t find any remains, and park rangers believe he dissolved from the dangerously hot water, the Associated Press reported.

Last fall, a 48-year-old man was hospitalized with “severe burns to a significant portion of his body” from falling into scalding-hot water near Old Faithful Geyser, McClatchy News reported.

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