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Women sentenced for walking on Yellowstone National Park thermal area

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Posted at 11:42 AM, Jun 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-18 20:17:44-04

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK - Two women who were cited earlier this month for walking off the boardwalk in a Yellowstone National Park thermal area have been sentenced.

According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, the women were spotted on June 11 walking in the area of Opal Pool in the Midway Geyser Basin. The women caused damage to bacteria mats in the area and were observed by witnesses who confronted them.

Tara L. Davoli, 31, and Sarah A. Piotrowski, 30, both of Philadelphia, were each ordered to spend two days in jail, pay a $350 fine and pay $106.92 in restitution for damages to Opal Pool, the press release states.

The amount of restitution was based on a damage assessment conducted by the Yellowstone geologist and a thermal research crew.

The women were also banned from Yellowstone National Park for two years and will serve two years of unsupervised release.

“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.