"It's better than spending time in a hospital's burn unit."
An intrepid explorer landed herself in hot water with authorities after visiting the restricted thermal areas of Yellowstone National Park.
Madeline Casey wandered off the marked path and onto the restricted thermal grounds of Norris Geyser Basin, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a release from the U.S. attorney's office for the District of Wyoming.
For breaching the rules, the 26-year-old from New Hartford, Connecticut appeared in court on August 18 and was sentenced to one week in jail, fined $1,000 and another $40 in fees. She was also told to pay $1,000 as a community service payment to the Yellowstone Forever Geological Resource Fund.
The thermal grounds in the park are home to hot springs, geysers and mud pots. They are a tourist hot spot but visitors are kept at a safe distance from the scorching natural features.
"The ground is fragile and thin and scalding water just below the surface can cause severe or fatal burns. More than 20 people have died from burns suffered after they entered or fell into Yellowstone's hot springs," said Yellowstone National Park Public Affairs Officer Morgan Warthin said in the release.
Acting United States Attorney Bob Murray added: "For those who lack a natural ability to appreciate the dangerousness of crusty and unstable ground, boiling water, and scalding mud, the National Park Service does a darn good job of warning them to stay on the boardwalk and trial in thermal areas. Yet there will always be those like Ms. Casey who don't get it. Although a criminal prosecution and jail time may seem harsh, it's better than spending time in a hospital's burn unit."