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Yellowstone fines man over water theft

Associated Press Associated Press 16/06/2016

A tourist from China has been fined $US1,000 ($A1,349.71) for walking off a boardwalk at Yellowstone National Park and collecting thermal water, apparently for medicinal purposes, according to park officials.

A witness reported seeing the man break through the fragile rock crust surrounding the Mammoth Hot Springs area. The witness took photos of the man that were turned over to park rangers, officials said.

The incident came only a week after an Oregon man died after falling into one of Yellowstone's hot springs.

The Chinese tourist told rangers he did not read the safety information given to him when he entered the park. The man, whose name was not released, reportedly wanted the water for medicinal purposes, said park spokeswoman Charissa Reid.

Reid said in an emailed response to questions about the case the "stiff fine" was levied in large part because of "the irreplaceable nature of the thermal feature".

The 2.2 million-acre (890,000-hectare) park has seen a string of incidents over the past month where tourists have got into trouble.

Some got too close to wildlife and several others walked off boardwalks near hot springs.

On June 7, 23-year-old Colin Nathaniel Scott of Portland slipped on gravel and fell into scalding, acidic water after leaving a boardwalk in the Norris Geyser Basin. Park officials were unable to recover his body.

A day after Scott's death, six people received $US130-citations for walking off trail in the Grand Prismatic Springs area.

Park regulations require visitors to stay on trails and boardwalks for their own safety as well as to protect Yellowstone's natural resources. It is a violation of federal regulations to collect any park resources.

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