Get Out There

Pierce Brosnan Facing Jail Time for Yellowstone Antics

We have written many times about people being “tourons.” The word is a combination of tourist and moron, and it describes people who do dangerous things in national parks.

A man hit golf balls in a national park, leaving trash in the ecosphere. He was charged with a federal crime because of it. He lost his job in social media because of it. Despite apologizing, he also said he intended to do the same stunt in Europe.

People have been jailed over approaching the wildlife. Animals are not only dangerous. They also need to know how to live without interacting with humans, as it can change their behavior. A woman tried to get close to a grizzly bear and her cubs to take better photos. Predators who become accustomed to humans can pose a dangerous threat and need to be killed.

We have also written about people going where they shouldn’t be. We shared information about a man being fined $8,000 and a woman being sentenced to a week in jail for walking on thermal grounds in Yellowstone. The grounds are thin and fragile; you can fall through the crust, get severe burns or even die attempting to walk over them.

There are clearly written signs telling you not to trespass on the grounds. There are barriers that make it difficult to get off the path. But people continue to do it.

The most recent person to get off the path and into hot water, legally speaking, is the famous actor Pierce Brosnan. While he played James Bond with a license to kill, Mr. Brosnan has to follow the same rules as the rest of us. While on vacation in Yellowstone near the Wyoming-Montana border, Mr. Brosnan allegedly left the path and walked onto the thermal grounds.

Mr. Brosnan faces charges for “foot travel in all thermal areas and within Yellowstone Canyon confined to trails” and “violating closures and use limits.” There are boardwalks and trails in the area for visitors to use.

So far, evidence against Mr. Brosnan hasn’t been released. However, he posted many pictures from his trip on Instagram. Pictures of a man who appeared to be him, wearing an outfit identical to what he was wearing in his own photos, were featured on the blog “TouronsOfYellowstone.” The man in the photos stands where the lawsuit alleges Mr. Brosnan was. Those photos may be the evidence. Neither he nor the National Park Service have made a statement about the charges.

No matter how famous a person is, or how much we like fictional characters they have portrayed, we all have to respect the public lands around us. National parks aren’t amusement parks. They are not safe, manicured areas. The rules are in place to protect the people, animals and plants. When people ignore the rules, it endangers them and can damage the parks for other visitors. We want our national parks to remain beautiful, not shaken or stirred.  

Banner image: Noémie Cauchon via Unsplash

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