Yellowstone National Park has created a specialized team to remove litter from geologic features in the park. The Thermal Area Preservation Program, TAPP, also documents any resource impacts in thermal areas.
It is no small job. Park officials said this summer alone, the TAPP team removed 438 hats and 16,404 pieces of litter from thermal features. The data they collect helps guide management decisions protecting natural resources into the future.
Geothermal Monitor Megan Norr’s advice is “hold onto your hat.”
“Reach into your pocket for your camera and out comes a stray wrapper along with it. A brief gust of wind and say bye to your hat. Most people know not to throw things into hot springs, but many of the impacts we’re seeing seem to be accidental,” said Norr.