Federal District Court Magistrate Judge Mark L Carman sentenced TARA L. DAVOLI, age 31, and SARAH A. PIOTROWSKI, age 30, both of Philadelphia for being off trail in a thermal area. The charges stemmed from a June 11, 2020 incident where both women were observed off the boardwalk walking in a thermal area, which resulted in damage to orange bacterial mats at Opal Pool in the Midway Geyser Basin. Multiple witnesses observed the two walking on the feature and confronted them in an effort to get them to stop.
Davoli and Piotrowski each received a sentence of two days imprisonment and were ordered to pay a $350.00 fine and restitution for each in the amount of $106.92 for damages to Opal Pool. They have been banned from Yellowstone National Park for two years and will serve two years unsupervised release. The amount of restitution was based on a damage assessment conducted by the Yellowstone geologist and a thermal research crew.
“The rules in our National Parks are there for a reason – to protect visitors and the natural beauty we all want to experience and enjoy. 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..” stated United States Attorney Mark A. Klaassen. “We support the National Park Service and Park Rangers who work to enforce these rules so we can all continue to enjoy amazing places like Yellowstone and preserve the park for future generations.”
“We appreciate the support of the Wyoming U.S. Attorney’s Office in continuing to help us protect Yellowstone’s resources,” said Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Cam Sholly. “The successful investigation and prosecution of these types of cases help prevent future degradation of resources committed by irresponsible visitors.”
The National Park Service investigated this case.