We have an embarrassing history of reckless disregard for Yellowstone geysers and hot springs, and the wide variety of trash thrown into them. In atlasobscura.com, Eric Grundauser chronicles the disrespect back before Yellowstone was even established as our first national park in 1872.

People threw their laundry into the geysers and when it worked, so did others.

Over the years, visitors have thrown in pennies, (lots of pennies) bottles, rocks, stumps, cigarette butts, and horseshoes. Many have thrown in soap and as a result, there has been a permanent change in the delicate chemical balance of Morning Glory Pool, altering the color and amount of bacterial growth. In the 50’s, Morning Glory took on the nickname of “The Garbage Can.”

Geology Page via YouTube
Geology Page via YouTube


Even though fines can reach six months in jail and up to $5,000, people still toss garbage in.

In 2014, a visitor from The Netherlands crashed a drone into Grand Prismatic Spring. It was recovered, but not returned. Obviously, retrieving items out of these great thermal features is problematic at best.

We continually see disrespect for the natural wonders and animals of Yellowstone National Park. Maybe the fines should be greatly increased. I like the idea of putting someone in a chair at the end of a long pole and suspend them over Old Faithful. Oh, sorry, inside voice Steve, inside voice. By that I mean we are stewards of the planet, let's show some respect.

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