Lynnwood man creates costly photo opportunity in Yellowstone

Jun 20, 2024, 5:30 PM | Updated: 5:32 pm

Steamboat Geyser is protected by a boardwalk and 3-foot fence. (Getty Images)...

Steamboat Geyser is protected by a boardwalk and 3-foot fence. (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

A 21-year-old Lynwood man is facing legal consequences for his actions near Steamboat Geyser in Yellowstone National Park.

Viktor Pyshniuk’s desire for the perfect photo led him off the designated boardwalk and into restricted terrain, resulting in a seven-day jail sentence for thermal trespass. The park authorities didn’t stop there — Pyshniuk also received a two-year ban from the park and a hefty fine totaling $1,550.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports the incident unfolded on April 19 when a vigilant park employee in the Norris Geyser Basin spotted Pyshniuk venturing off the boardwalk. Armed with evidence, the employee captured a photo of Pyshniuk, who had boldly crossed over the fence, approaching Steamboat Geyser’s steam vent within a mere 20 feet.

When confronted by a Yellowstone National Park officer, Pyshniuk admitted that he had left the boardwalk to capture some snapshots.

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The officer emphasized the importance of adhering to the warning signs. Leaving the boardwalk in the geothermal area posed serious risks, including mud pots, scalding steam and unpredictable water. Despite the clear signage, Pyshniuk had willfully disregarded the rules, endangering both himself and the fragile ecosystem.

During the sentencing on June 4 in U.S. District Court in Wyoming, Magistrate Judge Stephanie Hambrick underscored the need to deter such behavior. She pointed out that others might follow Pyshniuk’s lead, assuming it was acceptable to leave the boardwalk. The three-foot fencing around the boardwalk served as a clear indicator that the area was off-limits.

Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Wyoming, Eric Heimann, echoed this sentiment, emphasizing that trespassing in thermal areas harms the park’s natural resources.

Steamboat Geyser, renowned as the world’s tallest active geyser, attracts tourists seeking its awe-inspiring eruptions. However, these eruptions are notoriously erratic, sometimes reaching heights of up to 300 feet with intervals ranging from three to 89 days.

This story was originally published on June 18, 2024, at 3:30 p.m. and has been republished since then.

Bill Kaczaraba is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here. Follow Bill on X, formerly known as Twitter, here and email him here

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Lynnwood man creates costly photo opportunity in Yellowstone