A Michigan man sustained minor burns at a thermal area in Yellowstone National Park on Tuesday, and was charged with two misdemeanors, according to federal court records and a press release from the Wyoming U.S. Attorney's Office.

Jason D. Wicks, 49, of Hillman, Michigan, was arraigned in federal court in Mammoth on Wednesday.

Wicks pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor offenses of violating "Foot travel in all thermal areas and w/in Yellowstone Canyon confined to trails" and "Presence in park area when under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance."

Court documents did not specify the area or the hot spring where the incident occurred.

He was released from custody.

As part of the conditions for release, Wicks is banned from Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks until these criminal charges are resolved.

Wicks suffered only minor burns to a foot, said Wyoming U.S. Attorney spokeswoman Lori Hogan.

This incident remains under investigation.

A trial date has not been set.

The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

In a statement, Yellowstone National Park officials said that the ground in hydrothermal areas is fragile and thin, and there is and acidic scalding water just below the surface.

Visitors must remain on boardwalks and trails and exercise extreme caution around Yellowstone’s thermal features.

Unfortunately, some people have not.

In August 2022, a Yellowstone employee found part of a foot -- in a shoe -- floating in the Abyss Pool the West Thumb Geyser Basin in the southern part of the park. The foot belonged to a Los Angeles area resident.

In October 2021, a 20-year-old woman from Washington suffered significant thermal burns when rescuing her dog from Maiden’s Grave Spring in the vicinity of Fountain Flat Drive south of Madison Junction. The dog died, and the woman was transported to the burn center at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.

In May 2020, a woman who illegally made her way into Yellowstone National Park fell into a thermal feature at Old Faithful and had to be flown to a burn center for treatment, officials say.

In June 2017, a North Carolina man who was an employee of a Park concessionaire, sustained severe burns after falling into a hot spring north of the Old Faithful area.

In June 2016, a man in his early 20’s walked off the designated boardwalk, slipped, and fell into a hot spring at the Norris Geyser Basin. Park officials found no remains, only a few personal items.

That also was the year that a group walked on the Grand Prismatic Spring. Members of the group were criminally charged and convicted.


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