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Stunt at Yellowstone's Old Faithful nets man jail time, fines

Judge also ordered the man banned from the park
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Posted at 2:52 PM, Jul 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-02 16:52:21-04

MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, Wyo. - A man who repeatedly ran out on the thermal area of the Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park last year has been sentenced to jail, ordered to pay fines, and banned from the park for four years.

Aaron E. Merritt, 37 of Madison, Maine, pleaded guilty on Thursday to trespassing on the Old Faithful thermal area on July 7, 2020.

Along with being banned from the park, Merritt was sentenced to 15 days in jail, with credit for four days served, and ordered to pay a $200 fine, $30 in court costs, and a $10 special assessment fee, according to a press release from U.S. Department of Justice District of Wyoming. He was also placed on probation for four years and banned from the park during that period.

Authorities said Merritt repeatedly ran out on the thermal area and up to the geyser of Old Faithful while wearing a raccoon skin hat and waving an American flag.

Merritt failed to appear for a court hearing on July 23, 2020, the press release states, and was arrested on a warrant in Maine on June 5, 2021.