Regular readers are likely quite accustomed to headlines about people doing really stupid stuff around wild animals in Yellowstone National Park. In just the last two months, a woman was bluff charged by a sow grizzly after getting too close to its cubs, another man was smacked around by a bear while hiking alone, and another woman was gored by a bison. But sometimes it’s people behaving like wild animals that garners news coverage—and hefty penalties.
Thirty-one-year-old Kyle F. Campbell of Fairmount, Indiana, drew both coverage and penalties with his antics on June 21 at Yellowstone Lake’s Grant Marina. He and some friends had scheduled a kayak tour on the 87,000-acre lake in the heart of the park, but they arrived very drunk according to a press release from the National Park Service. The guide refused to take them kayaking due to safety concerns.
Campbell and his friends did not take this news well. The press release states that they became so upset and caused such a ruckus that the kayak guide called park law enforcement and security for assistance. When officers arrived, Campbell made “threatening comments and gestures” toward them and refused to obey orders.
“Campbell continually struggled and kicked at the rangers, resisting arrest, and later injuring himself while banging his head in the patrol car,” the NPS said.
As if cracking his own head while cuffed in the back of a squad car wasn’t punishment enough, United States Magistrate Judge Mark L. Carman in Mammoth, Wyoming, charged Campbell with disorderly conduct; threatening, resisting, and intentionally interfering with a government employee; violating the lawful order of a government employee; being under the influence of alcohol and a controlled substance to a degree that may endanger oneself or others; and contempt of court for refusing to comply with a warrant to collect a blood sample.
For these federal offenses, Judge Carman sentenced Campbell to 60 days in prison, five years of unsupervised probation, and a five-year ban from Yellowstone National Park. He also must pay $1,600 in fines and fees.
“We understand that people are eager to get out this summer and enjoy our national parks; however, this type of behavior is unacceptable. Thanks to the quick actions taken by park rangers and the park vendor’s security officers, no one was seriously harmed,” said Acting United States Attorney Bob Murray. “Stay sober, because unruly and intoxicated behavior will only earn you a spot with the jailbirds rather than enjoying the beauty and adventure of Yellowstone.”