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These Dudes Are Banned From Yellowstone for Cooking Chickens in Hot Springs

Last August a small group headed for the Shoshone Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park. They had canoes and cooking pots in tow as well as two chickens, brined. After canoeing and hiking toward their chosen camping spot—which was closed at the time—three of the men carefully wrapped the chickens in a roasting bag and a burlap sack and lowered them into a nearby hot spring to cook.

That’s a no-no.

It’s illegal to put anything in the hot springs in Yellowstone, whether a coin, a lucky rock, or a chicken. A ranger was tipped off that people were hiking toward the basin with cooking equipment and when he arrived to investigate, he found the group swimming in a river nearby while their chickens boiled.

The ranger explained they were in a closed area and weren’t allowed to use the hot springs as a stove and then returned the next day to issue them orders to appear in court.

Three of the men, all in their 40s, pled guilty to misdemeanors and received a two-year ban from Yellowstone, two years probation, and a fine.

Eric Romriell, of Idaho, was one of the chicken cookers, and he told the New York Times he’d grown up going on boy scout trips where they’d often cook hot dogs in hot springs—he thought little of dipping the chickens in one for a boil. He explained that he and his group didn’t realize they were violating any laws and they didn’t want to be “troublemakers.”

He considered the matter of cooking the chickens in the spring to be one of “when is land use appropriate, when is land use abusive.”

“My opinion was it was land use,” he said, “but it wasn’t land abuse.”

They ate the chickens shortly after the ranger left. Romriell reported they were “fantastic.”

Photo: Kelsey Start

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