A Yellowstone tourist who drunkenly stumbled into the national park’s off-limits hot springs Tuesday was slapped with federal charges and a temporary ban.
Jason Wicks, 49, was arraigned Wednesday on charges of off-trail travel in a Yellowstone National Park thermal area and being under the influence of alcohol or drugs “to the degree he was a danger to himself or others,” the US Attorney’s Office in Wyoming announced Thursday.
Wicks, of Hillman, Michigan, is also banned from stepping foot in the national park — at least until the case is resolved.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges Wednesday.
Wicks suffered a thermal burn to his foot after venturing into the restricted and highly dangerous area, according to CNN travel.
Park visitors are asked to stay on boardwalks and designated trails to avoid the geothermal features which are often covered by just a thin and fragile shell of groundcover.
More than 20 people have died in Yellowstone’s hot springs — which contain “lethally hot waters” reaching up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit or more — over the years, according to the National Park Service.
The springs are so hot and acidic that some victims’ bodies actually dissolve inside the waters.
About a year ago, a park employee found part of a foot still in a shoe floating in a spring as the rest of the human remains were believed to have melted in the scalding geyser basin.
Past offenders who have survived have faced steep fines and even jail time.