Yellowstone Trespassers Plead Guilty
Three Canadians from the group High on Life pleaded guilty in front of a judge on Thursday in Yellowstone National Park.
According to a press release from Yellowstone, two defendants attended the hearing in person and one defendant was on the phone. Charles Ryker Gamble, Alexey Andriyovych Lyakh, and Justis Cooper Price Brown will face probation and fines, and two of them will serve jail time for disorderly conduct by creating a hazardous condition and foot travel in a thermal area of Yellowstone National Park.
On May 16, 2016, park rangers were alerted in Yellowstone National Park, after several people witnessed a number of individuals walking on Grand Prismatic Spring. During the course of the investigation, park rangers identified the four individuals involved in the violations in Yellowstone National Park and arrest warrants were issued. Through the use of social media and tips from the public, additional investigations were conducted about the group’s activities on other federal lands.
“The judge’s decision today sends a strong and poignant message about thermal feature protection and safety,” said Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk. “We implore all visitors to learn about the rules in Yellowstone, respect the rules and follow them. We ask visitors to take the Yellowstone Pledge. Protect your park and protect yourselves by staying on the boardwalks. If you witness resource violations, call 911 or contact a park ranger.”
C. Gamble and A. Lyakh pleaded guilty to charges that included disorderly conduct by creating a hazardous condition and foot travel in a thermal area. They also pleaded guilty to charges for commercial photography without a permit in Zion National Park; use of a drone in a closed area, riding a bike in wilderness, and commercial photography without a permit in Death Valley National Park; and the use of a drone in a closed area in Mesa Verde National Park. Both individuals will serve seven days in jail, pay more than $2,000.00 in fines, restitution, community service payments paid to Yellowstone Forever, and fees. They will be on probation for five years which includes being banned from public lands managed by the U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. As a condition of probation, C. Gamble and A. Lyakh will remove from their social media accounts all photographs and videos taken of public lands where they were charged violations.
J. Price Brown pleaded guilty to charges in Yellowstone National Park that included disorderly conduct by creating a hazardous condition and foot travel in a thermal area. He will pay over $3,500.00 in fines, restitution, and community service payments. He too will be on probation for five years which includes being banned from public lands managed by the U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The High On Life group was issued violation notices from:
- Zion National Park
- Death Valley National Park
- Yellowstone National Park
- Mesa Verde National Park
- Corona Arch (BLM)
- Bonneville Salt Flats (BLM)