Yellowstone National Park

Visitors watch steam escape from Old Faithful on Oct. 4 in Yellowstone National Park.

Two men were recently sentenced for walking onto the Old Faithful Geyser at Yellowstone National Park.

Eric Schefflin, 20, of Lakewood, Colorado, and Ryan Goetz, 25, of Woodstock, New York, were sentenced to 10 days in jail and are banned from Yellowstone for five years, according to a park news release. The two are also required to pay $540 in fines and serve five years of unsupervised probation.

Schefflin and Goetz appeared in federal court in Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming, on Dec. 5. U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Carman presided over the hearings. The park did not announce their sentencing until Thursday.

Schefflin and Goetz each pleaded guilty to a violation of thermal trespass, the news release said.

In September, employees and visitors at the geyser saw two people walking on the cone of the Old Faithful Geyser and reported it, the news release said. A ranger cited Schefflin and Goetz.

Chief Ranger Sarah Davis said in the release that law enforcement takes this violation seriously. She said walking on thermal features is illegal, dangerous and “damages the resource.”

“Yellowstone National Park also appreciates the court for recognizing the impact thermal trespass can have on these amazing features,” Davis said.

The release said the ground in hydrothermal areas can be fragile and thin, and there is scalding water just below the surface. Visitors must remain on boardwalks and exercise caution when around thermal features.

Freddy Monares can be reached at or at 406-582-2630.

Support quality local journalism. Become a subscriber.

Subscribers get full, survey-free access to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle's award-winning coverage both on our website and in our e-edition, a digital replica of the print edition.