Pierce Brosnan pleads not guilty to hiking illegally at Yellowstone
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Pierce Brosnan pleads not guilty to hiking illegally at Yellowstone
Pierce Brosnan and Keely Shaye Smith at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala in New York, May 1, 2023. (Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet/The New York Times)

by Sopan Deb

NEW YORK, NY.- Pierce Brosnan has pleaded not guilty to hiking in a restricted area of Yellowstone National Park, according to court documents filed this month in federal court in Wyoming.

The actor faces two charges that were filed Dec. 23. The court documents describe one as a “closure violation — mammoth terraces,” and the other as “foot travel in a thermal area.” Both incidents occurred Nov. 1, according to the charging documents.

The Mammoth Terraces area at Yellowstone is famous for its fountains and hot springs. But visitors to Yellowstone are, for the most part, required to stay on trails and observe them at a distance. The water in the hot springs is acidic and “can cause severe or fatal burns,” according to the National Park Service. The water beneath the thin crust around the springs is scalding hot.

The court documents do not detail the events of Nov. 1 or specify how Brosnan, 70, is alleged to have violated restrictions in place at the park. Karl Knuchel, the lawyer representing Brosnan in the case, declined to comment, as did the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Wyoming and the National Park Service.

Brosnan, a former star of the James Bond film franchise, pleaded not guilty to the charges Jan. 4 and requested that the court cancel a hearing scheduled for Jan. 23. That request was granted by U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephanie Hambrick.

For the charge of “foot travel in a thermal area,” authorities cited a park rule that states that foot traffic “in all thermal areas and within the Yellowstone Canyon between the Upper Falls and Inspiration Point must be confined to boardwalks or trails that are maintained for such travel and are marked by official signs.”

Authorities cited a separate law for the “closure violation” charge — one that says, “Violating a closure, designation, use or activity restriction or condition, schedule of visiting hours, or public use limit is prohibited.”

In November, Brosnan’s son Paris Brosnan shared behind-the-scenes photos from the set of “Unholy Trinity,” a movie featuring his father that was being shot at the Yellowstone Film Ranch in Montana.

Previous incidents have highlighted the sensitivities surrounding the safety and preservation of Yellowstone’s hot springs. In 2016, a 23-year-old man died after he slipped and fell into a spring. He had ventured away from the established trails.

Last summer, a 49-year-old man was banned from Yellowstone after being accused of drunkenly wandering off a trail in a thermal area. He sustained burns from doing so, according to The Cowboy State Daily.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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