Michigan man sustains thermal burns, faces criminal charges for off-trail travel in Yellowstone National Park

    (Yellowstone National Park) – 49-year-old Jason Wicks of Hillman, Michigan was arraigned in federal court on August 23, according to a press release issued by the Department of Justice on August 24, for criminal charges of off-trail travel in a Park thermal area, and for being under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the degree he was a danger to himself or others.

    Wicks pled not guilty to the charges.

    As part of the conditions for release, Wicks is banned from Yellowstone and Grand Teton  National Parks until these criminal charges are resolved.


    This incident remains under investigation, and a trial date has not been set.  

    The violation notice merely contains allegations, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. 

    In a statement, Yellowstone National Park officials said that the ground in hydrothermal areas is fragile and thin, and there is scalding water just below the surface.

    Therefore, everyone must remain on boardwalks and trails and exercise extreme caution around Yellowstone’s thermal features.


    You can learn more about safety in thermal areas here

    For additional information related to Yellowstone National Park, please contact the Public Affairs Office at  307-344-2015 or [email protected].


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