A Cellphone Snapshot of a Grizzly Has a Yellowstone Tourist Facing Federal Charges

In May, a Yellowstone tourist attempted to get an up-close cellphone picture of a mother grizzly bear and her three cubs. Not only is that dangerous, but it’s also in violation of one of the Yellowstone National Park laws.
The tourist is now facing federal charges for attempting to approach and take photos within 100 feet of wildlife. The Illinois woman is also faced with one count of feeding, touching, teasing, frightening or intentionally disturbing wildlife.
U.S. Park Police were able to find the woman because another tourist witnessed and recorded the event. In the video recording, the defendant appears to get within 15 feet of the bear before backing off when the grizzly briefly charged at her.
The woman will go in front of a magistrate judge on August 26 to answer to her charges. If she is convicted, she could be sentenced to a year in prison and be ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.

Other laws you need to follow

Other laws you need to follow
Taking photos of grizzly bears isn’t the only rule in Yellowstone. Here are a few of the Yellowstone National Park laws that keep you, other visitors and wildlife safe:

  • Animals: Whether it’s an 800-pound bear or a two-pound rabbit, park rangers do their best to protect all of the animals in Yellowstone. After all, the park is designed in part to be a sanctuary for them. But don’t worry, you won’t need to study all of the laws before your trip. Policies are posted throughout the park in an intent to ensure everyone is well aware of the laws.
  • Fires: Hot and dry conditions make summer the worst season for wildfires in Yellowstone. While we can’t do anything to prevent wildfires started by lightning strikes, tourists can do their part by adhering to posted fire laws. Additionally, you should never start a fire or smoke outside of a designated area.
  • Trails: We know it’s tempting to do a little off-road driving or biking to get a better look at the beautiful surroundings, but don’t do it—leaving the trails can result in some hefty fines. We promise you can get a great view of everything from the safety of the road.
  • Hot springs: The thermal hot springs are a major attraction in Yellowstone, but there are rules in place to protect the springs and visitors. Swimming is prohibited in the springs, as is walking off designated trails to get a better look at the hydrothermal areas.
  • Camping: Sleeping under the stars in Yellowstone is an experience you’ll never forget, but you can’t just set up your tent anywhere you please. In addition to obtaining the right permits, all campers must stay within designated camp sites during their stay.

See Yellowstone with our team

Book a trip with Yellowstone Tour Guides instead of attempting to experience the park on your own. From day hikes to multi-day vacation packages, we offer a package for everyone. When you book with us, you can rest easy you’ll stay in good standing with all of the Yellowstone National Park laws and have a great time during your visit!