Three Canadians face criminal charges for stomping on the ecologically sensitive grounds of Yellowstone National Park's iconic Grand Prismatic Spring.
Footage taken by eyewitnesses, including the one above provided anonymously to Buckrail, showed four people tromping on the delicate grounds of the spring. The Casper Star-Tribune identified the three charged as Charles Ryker Gamble, Alexey Andriyovych Lyakh and Justis Cooper Price-Brown, members of the group High on Life SundayFundayz.
K2 Radio in Wyoming reported that warrants were issued for their arrest.
The group wrote on Facebook that they "travel the world for a living and make fun and adventurous videos." They also sell a line of clothing and post photos such as this one on social media, which shows the three men who have been charged:
The group called the decision to stomp on the ecologically sensitive grounds of the Yellowstone geothermal feature an "unfortunate error" and apologized on Facebook.
"We got over zealous in our enthusiasm for this wonderful place. When standing at the face of such natural wonder, we were drawn to it. In an attempt to get the perfect shot, we acted in a way that doesn’t reflect our respect for the environment we were trying to capture. "
The group also removed the photos of themselves walking on the spring, but many images of them off the trail were shared online:
It's not yet clear what penalties the three will face or if the fourth member of the group seen on the video will be charged. However, Jackson Hole News & Guide reported that a Dutch tourist who crashed a drone into the spring in 2014 was fined $1,000 and had to pay an additional $2,200 in restitution.
Grand Prismatic Spring is the nation's largest hot spring, and gets its name from the colorful waters, which match those of the prism. According to Smithsonian Magazine, these hues are caused by heat-loving bacteria.
The spring features a trail with a boardwalk to keep visitors safe and protect the grounds, and there are numerous signs warning people not to venture off of it.
"Such off-trail travel also creates a hazardous condition for the traveler by breaking through the delicate thermal features and possibility of thermal injuries and subjecting rescuers to the same or similar injuries," park ranger Alec Chapman wrote in an affidavit, per K2 Radio.
In addition, a park spokesman told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle that the group didn't have a permit to film on the location, which is required for commercial efforts. Filming without a permit is a misdemeanor with a potential fine of up to $5,000.
This incident was the latest in a string of high-profile examples at Yellowstone showing exactly what you shouldn't do in a national park. Last week, tourists pulled a baby bison into their SUV and drove off with it because they thought it was cold. The animal was later euthanized.
There have also been a series of injuries caused by tourists getting too close to bison to pose for selfies.