Man Sentenced To Jail For Trespassing In Yellowstone | Big Horn Basin Media

Man Sentenced To Jail For Trespassing In Yellowstone

Written by on June 17, 2024

A man from Washington State is being sentenced to jail time for trespassing into a dangerous, and potentially lethal area of Yellowstone National Park.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) press release states that the sentencing on June 13 of Lynwood, Washington, resident Viktor Pyshniuk was handed a seven-day jail sentence over the trespassing incident.

Officials say the 21-year-old man wandered away from the boardwalk area at Steamboat Geyser in Yellowstone’s Norris Geyser Basin during his visit. According to the DOJ, the Steamboat Geyser is the world’s tallest active geyser and is “the most dangerous” geyser in the world.

“It has erratic and unpredictable eruptions that can rise anywhere from six to 300 feet high,” officials said.

Viktor Pyshniuk trespassing at Yellowstone
Lynwood, Washington, resident Viktor Pyshniuk, far left, was photographed while trespassing near a Yellowstone National Park geyser.

According to the DOJ, a National Park Service (NPS) employee had reported seeing someone “walking off the boardwalk” near the geyser. Pyshniuk reportedly told the NPS officer that he was trying to get pictures of the hot spring.

“The employee had taken a photo of the defendant who had clearly crossed over the fence and was walking up the hillside within 15-20 feet of Steamboat Geyser’s steam vent,” the DOJ explained. “When contacted, Pyshniuk told the officer he left the boardwalk to take photos.”

“While speaking with Pyshniuk, the officer showed him the signs posted throughout the area stating it is illegal to leave the boardwalk and explained that walking in a thermal area is very dangerous due to possible weak ground layer, the geothermal features of mud pots, heated steam and water, and all other dangers associated with walking in a heated, unpredictable geothermal area.”

In addition to his jail sentence, Pyshniuk was also ordered to pay $1,550 in fines and has been placed on two years of unsupervised release. The man is also banned from Yellowstone National Park for two years.

Magistrate Judge Stephanie A. Hambrick designed the sentence to “deter [Pyshniuk], specifically, but also the public from leaving the boardwalk in this area.”

“She expressed her concern that the defendant’s actions were seen by the people around him, and they might have thought it was okay to do the same thing,” the DOJ said. “And if every visitor to [Yellowstone] disobeyed the rules, the park would be destroyed, and no-one would be able to enjoy it.”

Acting United States Attorney Eric Heimann said in a statement that trespassing into thermal areas of Yellowstone is “dangerous and harms the natural resource.”

Wideshot of tourists watching geyser
Hundreds of visitors watch as Old Faithful springs to life in Yellowstone National Park’s Upper Geyser Basin in Wyoming on Sept. 18, 2022.

“In cases like this one where we have strong evidence showing a person has willfully disregarded signs and entered a closed, thermal area, federal prosecutors will seek significant penalties, including jail time,” Heimann said.

[There are no radio stations in the database]