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TWO WASHINGTON MEN CHARGED WITH DAMAGING YELLOWSTONE GEYSER AREA
The Associated Press
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. - Charges have been filed against a second man accused of aiding a companion in damaging the area around a geyser, Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Suzanne Lewis said.
Austin B. Olsen, 19, of Battle Ground, Wash., was charged with aiding and abetting Adam R. Elford, 22, of Vancouver, Wash., in operating a vehicle off-road; aiding and abetting injury of mineral resources; and aiding and abetting improper food storage.
Investigators allege that on Oct. 10, Elford, accompanied by Olsen, drove his pickup truck around a locked barrier and along a path reserved for pedestrians and bicyclists, then through a second barrier, where he drove on fragile soil surrounding Lone Star Geyser, spinning "doughnuts" near the geyser before getting stuck.
The next morning, the two men walked more than five miles to the Old Faithful area and asked two visitors for help.
Still unable to free the stuck vehicle, Elford and Olsen eventually went to the ranger station at Old Faithful. The truck was impounded.
The U.S. Attorney's Office is reviewing the case to determine if felony charges are warranted.
Yellowstone staff and the Montana Conservation Corp. have spent more than 80 hours trying to repair the resource.
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