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.