The four men accused of walking on Grand Prismatic Spring in May will appear in court November 1, after months of back-and-forth.
In exchange for finally appearing in person at the Yellowstone Justice Center in Mammoth Hot Springs, according to the Jackson Hole News & Guide, U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Carman agreed to quash the men’s federal arrest warrants. The men may now enter the U.S. without being arrested.
The warrants were issued in May, shortly after the men (all employed by or associated with High On Life, a Vancouver-based clothing/lifestyle company) were witnessed walking of the boardwalk in Midway Geyser Basin, taking photo and video of their activities. They fled to Canada to avoid arrest; the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to extradite the men since they only faced misdemeanors. The men face charges in other national parks in Colorado, Utah, and Nevada.
The men’s attorney, Thomas Fleener of Fleener Law in Laramie, Wyoming, has maintained throughout the process that the men shouldn’t serve jail time for their offence.
We previously reported the defendants would appear in a phone conference with their lawyer and Judge Carman September 6; this deal appears to be the result of said conference. From the JHN&G:
“I’ve been working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office on a resolution,” Fleener told the Jackson Hole Daily. “I’m optimistic the case will be resolved with substantial fines.”
Justis Cooper Price-Brown, Alexey Andriyovych Lyakh, Charles Ryker Gamble and Hamish McNab Campbell Cross also face charges from national parks in Colorado, Nevada and Utah.
“New tickets keep coming in,” Fleener said. New charges include flying a drone in a national park, using commercial photography in a national park without permission and operating a bicycle in restricted areas in a national park, Fleener explained.
“We’re still in the process of gathering all the information from national parks,” he said.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office has also requested that the defendants pay a fine for walking in a thermal area in Yellowstone, which could be up to $3,000, Fleener explained. “No one expects there to be permanent damage,” he added.
Fleener added the defendants are “hopeful they can come back to the United States in November, apologize and pay the penalties, and get on with their lives.”