SALT LAKE CITY (KTVX) – A Michigan man who sustained thermal burns at Yellowstone National Park is now facing criminal charges for allegedly going off-trail during his visit, according to the U.S. Dept. of Justice.
Jason D. Wicks, 49, was arraigned Wednesday on charges in connection to trespassing at a thermal area of Yellowstone. He was also accused of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time, “to the degree he was a danger to himself or others,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Wyoming.
Wicks pleaded not guilty.
A trial has not yet been scheduled. In the meantime, the U.S. Attorney’s office and the National Park Service have confirmed Wicks is not welcome at Yellowstone, nor Grand Teton National Park, pending the outcome of the case.
In sharing the news, the National Park Service reiterated that guests are required to stay on designated trails or boardwalks in thermal areas. On its website, the NPS adds that “scalding water underlies most of the thin, breakable crust around hot springs.”
Disregarding the warnings or going off-trail, the NPS says, can result severe injury or worse.
“More than 20 people have died from burns suffered after they entered or fell into Yellowstone’s hot springs,” the NPS writes.