What began as a shaky video of an unknown group of filmmakers trampling on Yellowstone’s Grand Prismatic Spring in May of 2016 ended last week when the responsible parties were finally sentenced. All four will pay hefty fines and lose park privileges, two of them will spend a week in jail.
In May, four men quickly identified as the team behind the Canadian brand High On Life were video taped ignoring posted signs and walking all over the Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone.
The group initially tried to hide the stunt by deleting the resulting photos, then owned up to it and tried to get their fans to “earn” a donation for Yellowstone as some sort of restitution, and then finally went silent after all of their attempts yielded increasingly louder calls for their arrest. Here is the original video, which has now been viewed almost 375,000 times:
One of the four, Hamish Cross, plead guilty to foot travel in a thermal area and disorderly conduct back in November, earning himself an $8,000 fine and 5-year ban from US public lands. The remaining three were sentenced last week at the Yellowstone Justice Center in Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming.
Alexey Andriyovych Lyakh and Charles Ryker Gamble plead guilty to disorderly conduct by creating a hazardous condition, foot travel in a thermal area, using drones and bikes in closed areas, and performing commercial photography without a permit—charges they accrued in Yellowstone, Zion, Death Valley and Mesa Verde National Parks. They will both spend 7 days in jail, pay a $2,000 fine each, are banned from US Public Lands for 5 years, and are required to perform community service for the Yellowstone Forever organization.
Justis Cooper Price-Brown will not go to jail for any length of time, but will instead pay a higher $3,500 in fines and restitution, and is also required to perform community service for YF.
After the sentencing, Gamble’s attorney, Alex Rate, tried to drum up some sympathy for his client.
“These young men have been through the wringer when it comes to public shaming,” Rate told the Billings Gazette. “They understand the impact of their decisions and take responsibility for it.”
Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk took a different tone. In a statement released after the sentencing, he said the penalties handed down, “send a strong and poignant message about thermal feature protection and safety.”
(via Resource Travel)