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Yellowstone's Artists' Paintpots Area Temporarily Closed

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Date: May 30, 2008
Contact: Al Nash or Stacy Vallie, (307) 344-2015

The Artists’ Paintpots area in Yellowstone National Park has been temporarily closed due to visitor safety concerns.

The area of colorful, hot mud springs is located along a one mile loop trail east of the park’s Grand Loop road, about two and a half miles south of Norris Junction.

A visitor was injured Thursday afternoon when she was hiking on the established dirt trail with family members. Utah resident Jeanette Hogan says she stepped in a surface puddle of rainwater along the edge of the trail when the crust beneath gave way. She broke through to a previously undiscovered pool of hot water, and received burns to her ankle and lower leg.

Members of the park’s trail crew were working on another section of the Artists’ Paintpots trail at the time of the accident. Crew members were able to provide immediate first aid and summon park emergency personnel, who took the patient by ambulance to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls. The extent of Hogan’s injuries and current condition are unavailable.

Park geologists are currently evaluating the area. The water in the pool is 171 degrees Fahrenheit. Water boils at about 197 degrees Fahrenheit at that altitude. The water at the surface of the hot pool was found to be slightly acidic, with a pH similar to vinegar.

The parking lot and trail will remain temporarily closed until the area can be safely reopened to visitors.

While boardwalks and designated trails help protect park visitors and prevent damage to delicate formations, Yellowstone National Park is a dynamic, geologically active place.  Scalding water can lie underneath thin, breakable crusts. Many geyser eruptions are unpredictable, and thermal features are near or above boiling temperatures. Four people treated for thermal burns in the park in 2007.

- www.nps.gov/yell -


Did You Know?

Summer Crowd at Old Faithful.

At peak summer levels, 3,500 employees work for Yellowstone National Park concessioners and about 800 work for the National Park Service.