Smile, you’re on camera. That’s the lesson for nearly 30 folks who decided to get up close and personal with Old Faithful, the geyser in Yellowstone National Park. Some of those individuals are now being issued tickets for getting dangerously close to the iconic geyser.
The people who decided it was a good idea to get within feet of the geyser’s cone were first discovered by someone watching a webcam broadcast of Old Faithful from Wisconsin. Yellowstone National Park rangers said those who decided to leave the walkway and viewing area near the geyser were members of a tour group. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports that this incident may be the largest number of violators ever caught at one time. "We will see a few people off the boardwalk at Old Faithful every year … I don't know that anybody recalls an incident in modern times with this number of people at one time getting that close,” said park spokesman Al Nash.
The fines were not levied against each one of the curious 30; the fines were limited to the tour operator and a few of the ringleaders. The tour guide, the bus driver and the “man said to have instigated the adventure,” were all fined $150, according to Nash.
Luckily for those who decided to get up close and personal with Old Faithful, the geyser did not erupt while they were near. If it had done so, the boiling water could have seriously hurt members of the group.
While this incident is one of the largest violations ever reported at Yellowstone, it is not the only noteworthy one to happen recently. In 2009, two Yellowstone National Park concession workers were fired when they were caught on a webcam urinating into Old Faithful. That was a costly trip to the loo — the violation came with a $750 fine and a two-year probation from visiting the park. As with the more recent incident, the employees were caught by people watching the live webcam feed.