Home U.S. NEWS 3 off-road drivers cited after getting stuck in Death Valley National Park

3 off-road drivers cited after getting stuck in Death Valley National Park

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3 off-road drivers cited after getting stuck in Death Valley National Park

Three drivers have been charged and may face thousands of dollars in compensation after they ran off the road and became stuck in the protected Death Valley National Park, park officials said Friday.

On December 22, a rented Porsche and a pickup truck that had been hired to pick it up against parking orders got stuck; and on Wednesday, a man was driving a BMW and got stuck in the sand, the National Park Service said.

“Vehicles leaving roads can damage delicate ecosystems and archaeological sites,” park superintendent Mike Reynolds said in a statement. “They also impact the experience of other park visitors. People want to photograph the park’s beautiful landscapes without any car tracks in the image, which can take many years.”

A Porsche and its attempted rescuer became stuck south of Badwater Basin.  (National Park Service)

A Porsche and its attempted rescuer became stuck south of Badwater Basin. (National Park Service)

Criminal charges were issued against all three drivers, the park administration said.

The park will also seek damages, said Abby Wines, a spokeswoman and management analyst for the park.

The amount is not known, but she said another off-road case a few years ago resulted in an order for $50,000 in restitution.

In the Dec. 22 case, two men in a rented Porsche SUV drove off the road and got stuck in the mud as they drove toward a salt flat, the park service said. It was only 200 yards.

A park ranger told them that park staff needed to supervise the removal because attempting to do so could cause even greater damage, according to the park service.

But they still hired someone in a pickup truck to try when valet parking wasn’t there, officials said. The truck also got stuck.

Wednesday’s incident occurred when the driver of a BMW SUV drove a half-mile through the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes and became stuck, the park service said.

Death Valley National Park covers 3.4 million acres of desert in California, near the Nevada border. It is extremely hot and holds the record as the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth – 134 degrees Fahrenheit on July 10, 1913.

It’s unclear what will be done to repair the damage caused by the drivers. It can take many years for traces to disappear naturally, Wines said.

Wines said there will be an evaluation of options because more damage could be done in restoration efforts.

The most common option is to lightly spray the ground with water using a hose while raking or sweeping the tracks, she said.

“But we can only use this method within hose distance of the road, otherwise the water truck will get stuck out there!” she said in an email.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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