Yellowstone steamed, bans 3 men from park over hot spring chicken roast

Nov 11, 2020, 11:54 AM | Updated: 1:44 pm
yellowstone cooking chicken...
Morning Glory Pool; NPS Jim Peaco; March 2015;

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK — Yellowstone National Park has banned three men from coming back for the next two years because they were cooking chicken in a hot spring.

The New York Times reports that Eric Romriell, 49, and Eric Roberts, 51, both from Idaho, and Dallas Roberts, 41, from West Valley City, and their families were on a canoe trip to the Shoshone Geyser Basin when they attempted their wilderness cooking.

Yellowstone Park spokeswoman Linda Veress said that a ranger was in the area responding to reports of people with cooking pots when they found two whole chickens in a burlap sack in a hot spring. That ranger then found the group nearby swimming in a river.

Don’t leave the trail

Veress said that it is illegal to go off the boardwalk or designated trails and touch or throw objects into hot springs or other hydrothermal features at Yellowstone National Park. 

The National Park Service said, “Swimming or soaking in hot springs is prohibited. More than 20 people have died from burns suffered after they entered or fell into Yellowstone’s hot springs.”

In addition to that, the park said that toxic gases can accumulate in some hydrothermal areas. 

Normal view of Crested Pool NPS/Dave Krueger

Infrared view (yellow = hottest, blue = coolest) NPS/Dave Krueger

Romriell told the Times he had read the rules and thought they weren’t doing anything incorrectly.

“The way I interpreted it was don’t be destructive,” Romriell said, “and I didn’t feel like I was.”

He said as a scoutmaster he always encouraged his scouts to cook creatively. 

Cooking chicken a no-no in Yellowstone thermal features

Romriell said they had wrapped the chicken in two roasting bags and a burlap sack to avoid contaminating the water. Then they carefully put them inside a spring right off the trail at Yellowstone. 

“One of the big rules for scouting and camping is leaving no trace,” he said, adding that an officer who inspected his campsite said it was clean. “I don’t intend to be a naughty person. I don’t intend to be a troublemaker.”

Dallas Roberts, who owns a window-cleaning business in West Valley City, said he understands why Yellowstone doesn’t want someone cooking chicken in a hot spring, but agreed they did their best to keep things clean.

“We definitely have respect for Yellowstone,” he added.

“We have respect for the outdoors, and would never do anything in any way to contaminate that or to cause problems for others.”

US District Court documents show the three men pleaded guilty to foot travel in a thermal area. Romriell also pleaded guilty to an additional charge of having food in a thermal area.

Listen to the Dave and Dujanovic podcast, where they discussed this chicken story as well as what *else can get you banned at a U.S. National Park.


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Yellowstone steamed, bans 3 men from park over hot spring chicken roast