News Release

Michigan Man Sustains Thermal Burns in Yellowstone National Park

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Park Entrance sign and Sepulcher Mountain

NPS / Jacob W. Frank

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News Release Date: August 24, 2023

Contact: Lori Hogan, (307) 772-2124

News release from the U.S. Department of Justice District of Wyoming

Jason D. Wicks, age 49, of Hillman, Michigan, was arraigned in federal court on August 23, 2023, facing criminal charges of off-trail travel in a Yellowstone National Park thermal area and being under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the degree he was a danger to himself or others. Wicks pleaded not guilty to the charges. As part of the conditions for release, Wicks is banned from Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks until these criminal charges are resolved. This incident remains under investigation. A trial date has not been set.

The violation notice merely contains allegations, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

In a statement, Yellowstone National Park officials said that the ground in hydrothermal areas is fragile and thin, and there is scalding water just below the surface. Therefore, everyone must remain on boardwalks and trails and exercise extreme caution around Yellowstone’s thermal features. You can learn more about safety in thermal areas here:

For additional information related to Yellowstone National Park, please contact the Public Affairs Office at 307-344-2015 or

Last updated: April 25, 2024

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Mailing Address:

PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168



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