Kayaker too drunk for Yellowstone tour fights with rangers and ends up banned

A kayaker showed up too drunk to go on his tour of Yellowstone, and what ensued after got him banned from the national park for five years, officials said.

A kayak tour guide thought the 31-year-old man from Fairmont, Indiana, and his group were too intoxicated to be taken on their tour of Grant Marina on June 21, Yellowstone officials said Thursday.

The man got so upset at being turned away that the guide had to call security and park rangers, officials said.

Officers said the tourist threatened them and was acting drunk when they arrived.

“(The man) continually struggled and kicked at the rangers, resisting arrest, and later injuring himself while banging his head in the patrol car,” park rangers said in a news release.

He has been banned from the park for five years, sentenced to 60 days in prison and ordered to pay a $1,550 fine and a $50 fee after he pleaded guilty to several charges.

The man was charged with disorderly conduct and threatening, resisting and intentionally interfering with a government employee. He was also charged with violating the lawful order of a government employee, being under the influence of alcohol to a degree that may endanger oneself or others.

The man also refused to comply with a judge’s warrant to collect a blood sample, leading to a charge of contempt of court.

“We understand that people are eager to get out this summer and enjoy our national parks; however, this type of behavior is unacceptable,” acting United States Attorney Bob Murray said in a news release. “Stay sober, because unruly and intoxicated behavior will only earn you a spot with the jailbirds rather than enjoying the beauty and adventure of Yellowstone.”

Yellowstone has seen a flood of tourists in recent months. May was the park’s busiest on record, according to the National Park Service.

More than 434,380 people visited the park in May, an 11% increase from the same month in 2019.

Park visitation is also up in 2021 compared to the past several years, according to the National Park Service.

“Summer is Yellowstone’s busiest season,” park officials said. “Millions of people visit the park in June, July and August. If you plan to travel to Yellowstone this summer, plan ahead, expect crowding, recreate responsibly and take the Yellowstone Pledge to protect yourself and the park.”

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