A Yellowstone National Park visitor who was allegedly under the influence as he traveled off-trail in one of the park’s thermal areas has been banned from the park as he faces federal criminal charges in the incident, prosecutors announced.
Jason Wicks, a 49-year-old resident of Hillman, Michigan, was arraigned Wednesday on charges of off-trail travel and being under the influence “to the degree he was a danger to himself or others,” the US District Attorney’s Office in Wyoming said in a news release. He has pleaded not guilty.
Wicks was charged with thermal trespass and being under the influence of alcohol dangerous to self or others, according to court documents.
As part of the conditions of his release, Wicks is banned from Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks until the case is resolved, prosecutors said.
A trial date has yet to be set and the investigation is still underway, according to the release.
Yellowstone National Park officials cautioned that the ground in thermal areas is fragile and thin, with scalding water beneath its surface, the release said. and beneath the surface there is scalding water, the release says. Visitors are therefore asked to stay on boardwalks and trails and be extremely cautious around thermal features.
“Hot springs have injured or killed more people in Yellowstone than any other natural feature,” the park warns.