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Men Caught Walking On Old Faithful Banned For 5 Years

Two men walk up to Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park.
Schefflin and Goetz were seen walking on the cone of Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park in September, 2019.

Two men pleaded guilty in December to trespassing on the cone of Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park. 

According to a Yellowstone National Park announcement Jan. 9, 20-year-old Eric Schefflin of Colorado and 25-year-old Ryan Goetz of New York were each sentenced to 10 days of incarceration, $540 in restitution, five years of unsupervised probation and five year bans from the park on Dec. 5 at the Yellowstone Justice Center in Mammoth Hot Springs.

Employees and visitors witnessed Schefflin and Goetz walking on the cone of Old Faithful in September and reported it to park dispatch. A ranger then contacted and cited the two men for thermal trespass violations.

Park officials say the ground in hydrothermal areas is fragile and thin with scalding water just below the surface. Walking on it can damage the thermal feature and is very dangerous, as well as illegal.

They say visitors must always remain on boardwalks and exercise extreme caution.

Linda Veress, a Yellowstone spokesperson, said in an e-mail that thermal trespass happens more often than park officials know and that visitors are encouraged to report it to rangers as soon as possible.

She said individuals in a separate incident were cited for thermal trespass on Dec. 27.

Last September, a man suffered severe burns to a significant portion of his body after falling into thermal water near the cone of Old Faithful Geyser.