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Visitors Cited for Boiling Chicken in Yellowstone Hot Spring

When a group of friends and families decided to hike to Shoshone Geyser Basin in Yellowstone, they tried to come prepared for the unexpected. But what they didn’t prepare for? Fines, probation, and a temporary ban from the park. Three of them pleaded guilty to the minor offense of “foot travel in a thermal area,” after being discovered by park rangers trying to cook their food in the park’s hot springs.

Park representative Linda Veress said, “A ranger responded and found two whole chickens in a burlap sack in a hot spring.” The ranger found the group and questioned them about their behavior before issuing citations. According to Veress, the laws in place that prohibit access beyond designated trails are there to protect not only the park itself, but the public as well. Hot spring waters can exceed 400 degrees Fahrenheit, with the potential to cause “severe or fatal burns.” Such was the case earlier this year, when a 3-year-old girl suffered second-degree burns after falling into a hydrothermal area. The same thing happened in 2016, but the 23-year-old died from his burns.

Eric Romriell says that he and his friends did their best to be careful, double-packing the chickens inside a roasting bag and a burlap sack to avoid contaminating the waters. He said, “The way I interpreted it was don’t be destructive, and I didn’t feel like I was.” Dallas Roberts, another member of the group, says he saw some signage indicating they were in a closed area, but didn’t think the signs applied to the hot springs themselves. He agreed that the group wasn’t doing any damage, but added, “I can see that we should not have done that.”

Possible Preaching Angle:

It's easy to rationalize disobedience when we think we're doing it for a good reason. But often the restrictions are in place for our own safety and protection. We violate them at our own peril.

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