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Two Pennsylvania women were sentenced to two days in jail and fined for walking off the boardwalk in a thermal area in Yellowstone National Park.

Tara Davoli, 31, and Sarah Piotrowski, 30, damaged orange bacterial mats at Opal Pool in the Midway Geyser Basin on June 11. Witnesses confronted Davoli and Piotrowski to get them to stop.

The two each received a two-day prison sentence. They were each ordered to pay a $350 fine and $106.92 for damages to Opal Pool. They were banned from Yellowstone National Park for two years. The National Park Service investigated this case.

“Just taking a few steps off the boardwalk in a thermal area may seem harmless, but it can really damage the ecosystem and potentially put visitors in danger,” U.S. Attorney Mark A. Klaassen said in a news release.

Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Cam Sholly said in the release that the park appreciates the support from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, adding that the “prosecution of these types of cases help prevent future degradation of resources committed by irresponsible visitors.”

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Paul Schwedelson can be reached at pschwedelson@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2670. Follow him on Twitter @pschweds.

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