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21-year-old man receives jail sentence for trespassing in Yellowstone’s Norris Geyser basin

A man can be seen in the upper right corner of the photo walking on thermal ground at the Steamboat Geyser in Yellowstone National Park. Four tourists look on from behind a fence on a wooden boardwalk.
National Park Service
Victor Pyshniuk of Washington state was photographed by a Yellowstone National Park employee walking off of the designated boardwalk after crossing over a fence in 2024.

This story is part of our Quick Hits series. This series will bring you breaking news and short updates from throughout the state.

A judge has sentenced a man who trespassed near the world’s tallest active geyser in Yellowstone National Park to seven days in jail and a two-year ban from the park, among other penalties.

“Trespassing in closed, thermal areas of Yellowstone National Park is dangerous and harms the natural resource,” said Acting United States Attorney Eric Heimann in a statement. “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.”

According to court documents, 21 year old Victor Pyshniuk of Washington state got within 15 feet of Steamboat Geyser’s vent. The geyser is located in the Norris Geyser Basin.

He was also ordered to pay a $1,500 fine, $30 mandatory court processing fee and a $20 special assessment.

Pyshniuk told officers that he left the boardwalk to take photos.

Park officials remind visitors to remain on designated boardwalks and trails and exercise caution near Yellowstone’s thermal features.

Olivia Weitz is based at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody. She covers Yellowstone National Park, wildlife, and arts and culture throughout the region. Olivia’s work has aired on NPR and member stations across the Mountain West. She is a graduate of the University of Puget Sound and the Transom story workshop. In her spare time, she enjoys skiing, cooking, and going to festivals that celebrate folk art and music.

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