Yellowstone National Park Visitors Surprised By News That the Park Has Its Own Jail

by John Jamison

The National Park Service is tasked with maintaining order at the designated lands across the United States. As a representative of the federal government, the service is sometimes forced to place people under arrest. And to the surprise of many, Yellowstone National Park, America’s first, happens to be one of two to feature its own jail.

With an average of between three and four million visitors per year, Yellowstone National Park gets a lot of traffic. And as much as we’d like to believe that all four million of these folks are on their best behavior, the fact of the matter is occasionally, someone tries to stick their head in Old Faithful or provokes a herd of bison.

Understanding as the park service tries to be, willfully breaking rules put in place to keep Yellowstone visitors and the environment safe will land you in a jail cell. But in the grand scheme of things, there are certainly worse places to find yourself locked up.

And Sarah Bouska, the supervisor of the Yellowstone jail, even touts it as one of the park’s lesser-known attractions. She said as much in a hilarious comment posted by the Yellowstone National Park Twitter account.

“Lodging opportunities in the Yellowstone Jail cost a Class B misdemeanor,” Sarah is quoted as saying. “While we hope people don’t end up visiting the facility during their time in the park, we’ve received reviews like, ‘Cleanest cells and best hospitality I’ve experienced!'”

So there you have it. If you ever find yourself at Yellowstone during peak season with no lodging available, commit a Class B misdemeanor. You could get a place to crash for the night. The only catch is you may not be allowed back for a long time.

Yellowstone National Park Visitors Offer Their Thoughts on the Unexpected Jail

If it needs to be said, we are not actually condoning any criminal activity at Yellowstone. Visitors who abide by the posted and stated rules of the park have nothing to worry about. But that didn’t stop former and potential visitors of the park from chiming in on social media.

“I spent about three hours in that jail once. Fun fact. No matter what you do they have to put you in shackles to appear in front of the judge because he is federal. They were very nice and brought me food because I was arrested about lunch time,” a former detainee commented on the Twitter post.

“I mean, if it has windows, couldn’t imagine a better place to serve time,” someone else added.

“That I did not know! How do the bears, bison behave in the jail?” Another joked.

For anyone curious, the majority of arrests stem from alcohol and drug use.

“The jail sees about 200 people per year – most offenses are alcohol-related, such as DUIs, DWIs, etc,” the YNP Twitter account added.