Tourists Damage Yellowstone Thermal Springs to Get Some Selfies

Another day, another group of tourists potentially causing irreparable harm to a priceless natural and cultural icon so they can get a selfie or two. This time it's a tourist group in the famous thermal springs of Yellowstone national park in the US.

Despite the presence of multiple signs (both in English and a pretty obvious graphical form), the group crosses over to frolic next to the thermal springs as well as putting their hands in the hot water of the springs.

Given the delicate nature of the springs, there is a real risk of footing breaking through the thin crust of a surface to potentially very hot mud and water underneath – quite risky for burns and what not.

And that's before we get to the permanent damage that such an act has for the springs themselves!

As you can see from the video, another visitor to the springs reminded them that this behaviour was illegal, at which point several moved away, but several also stayed to continue taking photographs. One or two also challenged him on filming them and there is a minor confrontation.

The whole scenario is below.

We found this one over on DIY Photography.


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I'm Rob, the editor of Light Stalking. I try to keep this ship on course.

  • Clint says:

    Last year, a “tourist” walked off the boardwalk at Yellowstone’s Paint Pots, broke through the crust and died very quickly from scalding. What was worse, recovery efforts were halted by darkness, and when the rangers came back the next morning, there was nothing to recover! The pH of the water at Paint Pots is such that flesh and bone dissolves quickly.

  • Tejash says:

    Thank You!

  • Phillip says:

    Curiosity will kill the cat, eventually.

  • Dàles says:

    Blody arrogant Chinese,what else…
    When caught or exposed red handed they usually put on those silly smilling faces and play the pretend game; “Me no speak English”, “Me stupid”

    • Perry says:

      First of all, it’s bloody, not blody. Secondly, it is precisely this kind of attitude that fuels racism. Admittedly, the “Chinese” tourists AND the “white” tourist should not venture out onto the sensitive park ground, but posting such comments do not help in any way but showcase your discrimination.

      • CRge says:

        Stupid fool! When a group or class earn a reputation of a certain type much, if not all, is well deserved due to past behavior. We do not need your foolish PC crap! They damaged a wonderful resource and could have been seriously hurt on top of furthering the stereotype.

      • Jim Markle says:

        It’s OK for Chinese to play dumb? I’ve seen this kind of behavior by Asians in several National Parks. They come in mass and show no respect. Yes, there are stupid people from the U.S. and around the world, and thanks to the current administration the National Park Service has less funding to address the ever growing number of park visitors. Some parks, such as Zion, now have to restrict the number of people allowed in the park on any given day. The Park Service needs our help, financially and otherwise, to remind people of the dangers and abuse they may cause. That is not discrimination, this is respect. What would happen if you didn’t obey rules while visiting a park in China?

    • Jorge Perez de Lara says:

      A good opportunity to show a bit of ol’ racism, huh?
      I have seen tourists from many nationalities (yes, many Americans) doing the same thing abroad.

      • CRge says:

        So you apparently are racist against Cauc. people (Like yourself most likely are as a hispanic)… racism is based on ethnic not national factors… again exposing the ignorance of the left in their haste to blame America first… the story is about tourists being disrespectful… Tourists, not racial groups!

    • BJ says:

      They’re from Thailand.

  • . says:

    While I know its bad, this is commonplace in the quest for selfies.

    However you could have explained more why it was dangerous and could have causes serious harm, just telling people not too doesnt work. Just videoing them is goning to get this reult.

    What about the white people in there, what nationality were they? were they with the Asians? could they have translated? why were they blurred out?

    • . says:

      Ok those 3 were probably from his party. Anyway the white guy in there if he was in your party he is just as much to blame.

      Again the guy filming could have done so much more to educate rather than “illegal and report”

  • Sheen says:

    Bloody arrogant Thais!

  • Kent DuFault says:

    The real problem here is they KNEW they weren’t supposed to be out there. The confrontational man from Taiwan replied (when told he wasn’t supposed to be out there), I know. They should have been arrested.

  • Tbg says:

    This behavior has been going on long before you and your cell phone. Like you’ve never done anything illegal.
    Why do you act so self righteous.

  • Paul Swiech says:

    I returned from Yellowstone a month ago, and I was amazed by people’s behaviors. Adults and kids walking into meadows so they could get close to bison, climbing on rocks above waterfalls so they could get that, “Look how adventurous I am” picture, taking selfies while standing on the edge of boardwalks and cliffs. I even had one guy almost knock my camera out of my hands and over the edge of a canyon. I saw only one or two tripods other than my own, but I saw dozens of selfie sticks. I was trying to shoot some wolves at Roaring Mountain, and people would pull over, take some selfies, and then leave! Surrounded by so much majesty, and people just wanted pictures of themselves.

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    • Anonymous Coward says:

      Paul, I completely agree. I have a family member who literally travels the world on business. The ONLY pics they send are of themselves mugging in front of something which would be otherwise amazing….

  • Flash Gorman says:

    No respect for natural beauty. We visited there back in the 80s and we seen ppl filling bottles as souvenirs. I’ve witnessed ppl actually chipping away at walls of the grand canyon and other places just so they can have a momento. With technology we have now they need to have cameras in these places so they can catch them red handed and bann them from the parks.

  • JEANETTE Anton says:

    it’s a federal crime to trespass on the hot wrongs, I.e. get off the trails or to harass the park animals. Congress cut their budget; therefore I think the criminals (yes, when you break the law, you are a criminal) should pay high fines and community service cleaning public places in the park.

  • BJ says:

    Stupid group of tourists from Thailand….

  • BC says:

    Calling out destructive behavior such as these tourists is what all of us should do, whether it is damage to the environment, racism or just plain rudeness.

  • C.G.Baboux says:

    Good read: “Death in Yellowstone: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park” by Lee Whittlesey, a former park historian. There also are Death In … books for the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Big Bend, and probably others.

  • Lisa Griffis says:

    Don’t focus on the country,focus on the stupidity of selfish tourists that don’t respect the rules of the parks

  • Otterbox says:

    Instead of griping here you should direct your comments to the National Park Service (https://www.nps.gov/yell/contacts.htm). They are, after all, the ones responsible for ENFORCING the rules and laws protecting our parks and wilderness areas. Put your outrage to use and direct your comments where they will do some good.

  • RetiredFireFighter says:

    I live in the White Mountain National Forest and see the same behavior. The idea seems to be, “I’m on vacation so it is all right.” Having assisted on fatal carry outs of people who were poorly prepared or just plain stupid, I can attest that being “on vacation” does not protect you from bad decisions.

  • Marina says:

    Never have so many been enthralled and fascinated with self. It’s sooo weird to see someone staring into their phone, posing and smiling. Tourists no longer connect with the outdoors or the big open sky. It’s all self. All day.

    Standing on cliff edges, posing in geyser basins. Hanging over waterfalls and playing with the wildlife for instagram and Likes. There’s so much beauty all around but everyone is numbed out with reflections of self. Taking it right up to the razor’s edge gets the most Likes. We live in a culture of narcissists everywhere we look.


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