Accused Yellowstone Vandals Will Appear In Court On Nov. 1
The four defendants charged with illegally walking on the Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park in May will return to the park to appear before a judge in two months, according to federal court records.
On Nov. 1, they will hear the charges against them and will enter pleas before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Carman at the courthouse at Mammoth Hot Springs, YNP, according to the minutes from a half-hour telephone status conference on Tuesday.
The minutes did not indicate how they will plead, or if there will be a plea deal.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee Pico and the defendants' attorney Thomas Fleener of Laramie told Carman they are trying to resolve all related cases involving the defendants.
Because of at least one other court appearance scheduled elsewhere on Sept. 13, their arrest warrants were dropped because they have legal representation have have agreed to cooperate with federal court.
The minutes of the status conference did not indicate what other charges they face or where they face them. But at the status conference on Aug. 8, Pico said they allegedly violated rules about public lands at Death Valley and Mesa Verde national parks, and on U.S. Bureau of Land Management land in Utah.
The defendants are Charles Ryker Gamble, Alexey Andriyovych Lyakh, Justis Cooper Price-Brown (from British Columbia), and Hamish McNab Campbell Cross (from New Zealand). They video-recorded themselves and signs telling people to stay on the boardwalk at the Grand Prismatic Spring, then left the boardwalk, walked across the sensitive bacterial mat covering the area, and reached into the water.
They were charged with misdemeanor counts of not staying on designated boardwalks or trails, and with creating or maintaining “a hazardous or physically offensive condition.”
If convicted, they each face up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine.
The federal government still seeks restitution, but no amounts have been suggested, according to minutes from previous status conferences.
The defendants and their Vancouver, B.C.-based High on Life/SundayFundayz have drawn international outrage for posting videos of unethical if not illegal behavior at national parks and international sites.