A man who wasn’t authorized to be a Yellowstone tour guide trespassed and broke park regulations — and encouraged tourists to do the same, park officials said.
Theodore Eugene Garland, a 60-year-old from Edmond, Oklahoma, wrote a guidebook, hosted a podcast and created a social media page to help tourists find their way around Yellowstone.
Those resources, however, were filled with unreliable advice that violated many park rules, park officials said Sunday in a news release.
“Some of the examples included providing unauthorized guided tours; trespassing on thermal grounds; violating swimming closures and cliff jumping; creating ‘hot pots in rivers;’ and disturbing wildlife,” park officials said. “Garland was charged with 15 counts of illegal activities and violating national park regulations.”
He was found guilty on seven counts, park officials said. He was sentenced to a week in jail and ordered to pay $600 in fines and fees and a $500 payment to the Yellowstone Forever Geological Resource Fund, the nonprofit partner of the national park.
Garland is also banned from Yellowstone until the end of the year. He also rewrote his guidebook to remove references to illegal activities and encourage tourists to respect the park, according to park officials.
Trespassing in Yellowstone can be extremely dangerous, especially in thermal areas. Jumping into unknown and prohibited waters at Yellowstone could land you in scalding, boiling water or frigid snow melt.
“The ground in hydrothermal areas is fragile and thin, and there is scalding water just below the surface,” parks officials have said. “Visitors must always remain on boardwalks and trails and exercise extreme caution around thermal features.”
Last year, a 3-year-old had second-degree thermal burns after slipping and falling into a scalding thermal pool. Other people have died after falling into Yellowstone’s waters.
In 2016, an Oregon man may have dissolved after trying to soak in a thermal area. Workers couldn’t find any remains, and park rangers believe he dissolved from the dangerously hot water, the Associated Press reported.
In 2019, a 48-year-old man was hospitalized with “severe burns to a significant portion of his body” from falling into scalding-hot water near Old Faithful Geyser, McClatchy News reported.