Women sentenced to 2 days in jail for walking in Yellowstone thermal area
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Women sentenced to 2 days in jail for walking in Yellowstone thermal area

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Midway Geyser Basin

A tourist walks along the Midway Geyser Basin boardwalk at Yellowstone National Park in 2011.

Two Philadelphia women will each serve two days imprisonment and pay a fine for walking in a thermal area at Yellowstone National Park.

Multiple people saw Tara L. Davoli, 31, and Sarah A. Piotrowski, 30, leave the boardwalk June 11 and confronted them to try to get them to stop, according to a Thursday announcement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Wyoming. The women damaged orange bacterial mats at Opal Pool in the Midway Geyser Basin, authorities say.

Federal District Court Magistrate Judge Mark L Carman sentenced Davoli and Piotrowski to the two days in prison and ordered them to each pay a $350 fine and $106.92 for the damage they caused, as determined by a geologist and thermal research crew’s study. The women are banned from the park for two years and will serve two years’ unsupervised release.

“The rules in our National Parks are there for a reason — to protect visitors and the natural beauty we all want to experience and enjoy. Just taking a few steps off the boardwalk in a thermal area may seem harmless, but it can really damage the ecosystem and potentially put visitors in danger,” United States Attorney Mark A. Klaassen said in the news release. “We support the National Park Service and Park Rangers who work to enforce these rules so we can all continue to enjoy amazing places like Yellowstone and preserve the park for future generations.”

The National Park Service investigated the case.

“We appreciate the support of the Wyoming U.S. Attorney’s Office in continuing to help us protect Yellowstone’s resources,” Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Cam Sholly said in a written statement. “The successful investigation and prosecution of these types of cases help prevent future degradation of resources committed by irresponsible visitors.”


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