Colin Scott, a 23-year-old recent college graduate from Oregon, left the safety of a boardwalk and fell into a hot spring this week at Yellowstone National Park.
There were few of his remains to recover in water where temperatures can reach a scalding 200 degrees.
Scott’s death came just days after a Canadian tourist was fined for putting a baby bison in his car while visiting the park. The animal later had to be put down.
Things are off to a rather rocky start at the 2.2 million-acre park, which is expected to draw record crowds this season as the National Park Service celebrates its 100th anniversary.
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Last year the park hosted a record 4.1 million people. Visitation is up 15 percent over this same period last year, according to figures released Thursday.
Nearly 600,000 people visited in May alone, up 14.6 percent from 518,087 in May 2015.
Visitors are literally arriving by the busloads, with 48 percent more buses — a total of 594 — coming to the park this May compared with last May, park officials announced.
More people, more mishaps? The spike in visitors has park officials and caretakers reminding people about the perils of the great outdoors.
“This is not a resort. This is not a zoo. This is not a farm or ranch. This is a place that will kill you, and people are not used to that,” Yellowstone historian Lee Whittlesey told ABC News.
Yellowstone officials said Scott and his sister ignored warning signs when they walked about 225 yards off a boardwalk to get closer to the thermal features in one of the hottest areas of the park.
Scott’s death was a fatal reminder of what can happen when visitors don’t follow park rules, Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk told ABC.
The tragedy came just days after a 13-year-old boy sustained burns on his ankle and foot after his father, who had been carrying him, slipped in the park’s Upper Geyser Basin on Saturday, according to NBC Montana.
Park rangers have been busy around the springs. In May a Canadian film crew was fined for walking off-trail and onto the dangerous — and ecologically delicate — Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest natural hot spring in the country, The Oregonian reported.
The four men filmed themselves doing it. But others filmed them, too.
After being fined and chastised by park officials, the group apologized on its Facebook page. “We got over zealous in our enthusiasm for this wonderful place,” they wrote.
“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. It was the wrong decision to make. We realize that now.”
It’s very dangerous to walk off the boardwalk in the thermal areas,” park spokeswoman Charissa Reid told KRTV in Great Falls, Mont. “Not only is it illegal, but it’s also unsafe.
“Directly below the surface and in areas where there are thermal features, there can be a lip over the top of the feature that hides boiling-hot water below it.”
The last person to die after falling into a hot spring was a 20-year-old woman who walked off-trail with two friends at night in 2000.
“There are few true accidents,” Whittlesey, author of the book “Death in Yellowstone,” told ABC. “In my opinion, almost all of the incidents are attributable to someone’s negligence.”
One Yellowstone visitor last month paid a price for her negligence — or naivete.
A video shot by another tourist showed her standing too close to take a picture of an elk when the animal decided it didn’t like being hounded by the paparazzi.
The elk charged and head-butted her, knocking her to the ground.
“When will people learn?” said Greg Belfrage at KELO in Sioux Falls, S.D.
“It’s amazing to me how many people don’t understand these large, wild animals are fast, powerful and dangerous.”
Another woman was luckier earlier this season when she was able to walk away with her life when she walked up to a bison resting near a walkway and, to the horror of onlookers, petted it.
In another instance, a Canadian tourist who put a baby bison in the back of an SUV last month set off a public outcry because the animal had to be euthanized when it was rejected by the herd.
Shamash Kassam told CBS News he thought he was rescuing the bison, which he said approached him and his son with its umbilical cord still attached.
“We didn’t have the heart to kind of just leave it there and let it suffer, you know, as the darkness descended,” he said.
“I thought it was going to be a happy ending, and the calf was going to be integrated with another herd, and everything was going to be fine. We had no idea it was going to turn out so bad like that.”