'James Bond' actor Pierce Brosnan pleaded guilty to violating Yellowstone National Park rules, ordered to pay $1,500 fine

 March 15, 2024

Famed Hollywood actor Pierce Brosnan, who is arguably best known for his prior portrayal of the iconic British special agent "James Bond," was in a bit of hot water for violating the rules at Yellowstone National Park last year.

On Thursday, Brosnan pleaded guilty in a federal court in Wyoming to a misdemeanor offense for walking off a marked path and standing on a fragile geothermal feature and was ordered to pay a $1,500 fine, according to Wyoming's Cowboy State Daily.

The guilty plea stemmed from a Nov. 1, 2023, visit to Yellowstone with his sons and some friends, during which he stepped off the boardwalk and posed for a picture, one of several he later posted to his Instagram account but shortly thereafter deleted, on a snow-covered geothermal feature in the Mammoth Hot Springs area of the park.

Pleaded guilty in deal with prosecutors

Per the Daily, Brosnan had initially pleaded not guilty in January to the federal charges of foot travel in a thermal area and violation of a closure order, but the Irish-born actor appeared to have changed his mind and agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors ahead of Thursday's hearing at the Yellowstone Justice Center in Mammoth.

The deal with prosecutors included Brosnan pleading guilty to the foot travel misdemeanor, dropping the closure violation, a $5,000 fine, two years of unsupervised probation, and a two-year ban from Yellowstone National Park.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephanie A. Hambrick accepted the deal but altered some of the terms in light of Brosnan's expressed remorse for what had occurred, and ultimately only sentenced the famous "007" actor to pay a $1,500 fine -- $500 to the U.S. Treasury and $1,000 to the Yellowstone Forever Geologic Protection Fund -- while dropping the probation and ban as unnecessary.

For his part, Brosnan, who appeared in court via Zoom, shared how "highly embarrassed and ashamed" he was over what occurred and apologized by saying, "It was a foolish, foolish, impulsive thing to do with my sons. I wasn’t fully aware then, but I am absolutely 100% aware now."

He went on to explain that he had been "so engrossed with the beauty of the landscape" that he didn't notice the warning signs against wandering off the boardwalk path, and insisted, "If I had known or seen that sign, I never would have done it."

Brosnan publicly apologized following court hearing

USA Today reported that at the time of the incident, Brosnan had been in neighboring Montana to film an as-yet-unreleased movie titled "The Unholy Trinity" co-starring Samuel L. Jackson and David Arquette.

The outlet further noted that Brosnan posted a public apology to his Instagram account that said, "As an environmentalist I have the utmost respect for and love of our natural world."

"However, I made an impulsive mistake -- one that I do not take lightly -- when entering a thermal area covered in snow in Yellowstone National Park to take a photograph," he continued. "I did not see a 'No Trespassing' sign posted that warned of danger nor did I hike in the immediate area."

"I deeply regret my transgression and offer my heartfelt apologies to all for trespassing in this sensitive area. Yellowstone and all our National Parks are to be cared for and preserved for all to enjoy," Brosnan added along with the hashtag "#StayOnThePath."

Yellowstone's geothermal features are dangerous and deadly

A Justice Department press release noted that the National Park Service "reminds Yellowstone visitors that the ground in thermal areas is fragile and thin, and scalding water is just below the surface. Therefore, trespassing on thermal features is dangerous and can harm delicate natural resources within the park. Additionally, the park was established primarily to protect these hydrothermal areas. NPS encourages visitors to exercise extreme caution around thermal features by staying on boardwalks and trails."

Courthouse News reported that the warnings of danger are there for a reason, as at least 20 people have been killed over the years, and countless more seriously injured, by falling in or even just being too close to any of the roughly 10,000-plus geothermal features in the park like geysers, hot springs, and pools that reach boilingly hot temperatures.

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