Three visitors banned from Yellowstone after cooking chicken in hot spring

An Idaho man was banned from setting foot within Yellowstone National Park for the next two years after he was caught attempting to cook chickens in a hot spring.

Park rangers were tipped off on August 7 about a group of three people making their way toward Shoshone Geyser Basin with cooking pots, a park spokeswoman told EastIdahoNews.com on Friday.

When they arrived at the scene, officials found two whole chickens inside a burlap sack floating in a hot spring.

The man was cited for the incident and his two companions received tickets for walking in the thermal area.

He pleaded guilty in Mammoth Hot Spring Court back in September. He was also charged for violating closures and use limits, and was handed a $US600 fine, two years of unsupervised probation in addition to a two-year ban from the park.

Frankly, it's amazing anyone gets out of Yellowstone alive, with unsafe tourist behaviour often observed at the world's first national park.

Reader Thomas Leo Briggs of Rockville, Maryland, watched as a woman stepped off the boardwalk to pose on the steaming ground for a photo.

"She was on a crust covering the hot springs below her," he wrote. "That she did not break through the crust is mostly a matter of luck."

If she had, she would have been parboiled.

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If the geysers don't get you, Yellowstone's bison and elk might. 

Bridget Collins went to Yellowstone in 2002. Like every visitor, she was handed a packet of information when she arrived. On top was a bright orange sheet of paper that read in large type: "THE BISON ARE NOT TAME."

The warning made it clear that any contact with bison was forbidden and laid out every "stupid thing you could imagine some idiot trying to do with a wild animal," Bridget wrote, from feeding it to riding it.

Wrote Collins, of Kensington, Maryland: "I am following another car and we drive further on. [The driver] stops, jumps out of his car, runs across the road and proceeds to take several photos of the sleeping bison on the side of the road. He was three feet away at most.

"I told the ranger later that if the bison had attacked him, I wanted to testify on behalf of the bison."

That man was more fortunate than the teenager Jerry and Michele Sikora of Gaithersburg, Maryland, saw on their visit to Yellowstone. He'd been attacked by a bison after jumping over a fence to pet it.

"The bison gored him and threw him up in the air and he landed on the paved path," Jerry Sikora wrote. "Luckily a nurse was there to help stop the bleeding."

A reader from San Diego named Nancy was at the park in the 1990s, sitting on a boulder above the meadow, enjoying the scenery, if not the sight of a family advancing on a herd of elk for a close-up with their video camera.

"I hear a scream, I look down and see a bull elk with a camcorder hooked on his splendid rack, as he charged the tourists and chased them across the meadow," Nancy wrote. "I felt bad for the animal. I can't imagine having a '90s-era camcorder smacking him in the head was very pleasant."

Safety guidelines posted on the park website read: "Yellowstone's scenic wonders are sure to take your breath away: Don't let them take your life."

"From boiling hot springs to thousands of wild animals, some of the hazards in Yellowstone will be new to you. Protect yourself and the sights you plan to enjoy by following a few simple rules."

The park website additionally states that hot springs have "injured or killed more people in Yellowstone than any other natural feature."

Officials recommend visitors "stay on boardwalks and trails in thermal areas."

TNS with The Washington Post

See also: Risky business: The dumb things we do overseas

See also: Eleven of the dumbest things Australian tourists say

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