BOB MOEN Associated Press Writer CHEYENNE, Wyo.
The National Park Service has cited six people for walking on Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park after someone outside the park reported seeing them on a live park webcast, Chief Ranger Tim Reid said Tuesday. "This is a good example of the public having a stake in ownership and s t ewa r d s h i p o f p l a c e s l i k e Yellowstone," Reid said. "They're for the people, and we appreciate public reports that help preserve public safety and protect the resource." The six males were cited for going off trail into a thermal area during the evening of May 4, he said. The park prohibits people from walking off the trails and boardwalks around the various thermal features in Yellowstone. "Anytime you're in a thermal area you never know where the crust might break through, where you might step on a spot that doesn't have anything right underneath it," park spokeswoman Linda Miller said. "So that's why we have boardwalks and trails and things, and people are restricted from walking off those in any kind of a thermal area because it's a safety issue." Reid said the six were employees working for the park concessionaire. He had no other information about them. Park rangers also cited two of the workers for illegally possessing a piece of a park natural resource, and two for urinating at the geyser. All the citations were for misdemeanor offenses. All six are scheduled to appear before a federal magistrate later. Reid didn't have a specific date, and no one was available to comment at the U.S. At to rney' s o f f i c e i n Cheyenne. The park has two cameras aimed at the geyser 24 hours a day with one streaming video over the Internet. The other camera provides static pictures that updates every 30 seconds with a new frame. Reid, who has been a ranger at the park for 13 years, said the park receives many calls from people viewing the webcams, mostly questions about what they are seeing or reporting problems with cameras. "I'm not recalling any thing that led to a punitive law enforcement action on violations," he said. P u b l i c E m p l o y e e s f o r Environmental Responsibility, an environmental advocacy group, first announced the citations in a Tuesday news release.