Yellowstone Vandals Case Creeps Forward
The case continues slowly about the four defendants charged with illegally walking on the Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park in May.
The attorney for the four men held a telephone status conference with a federal prosecutor before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Carman in the federal court at Mammoth Hot Springs, YNP, on Monday.
Minutes of the court hearing offer few new details about the case that began May 14 when Charles Ryker Gamble, Alexey Andriyovych Lyakh, Justis Cooper Price-Brown (from British Columbia), and Hamish McNab Campbell Cross (from New Zealand) recorded themselves leaving the boardwalk at the Grand Prismatic Spring, walking across the sensitive bacterial mat covering the area, and reaching into the water.
They posted their Yellowstone video on their High on Life SundayFundayz Facebook page and website. (They later posted an apology of sorts.)
They were charged with 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. Because the charges are misdemeanors, the United States will not seek extradition.
During Monday’s status conference, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee Pico said his office is still working with other jurisdictions where High on Life has 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.
Pico wants all the cases resolved in Wyoming because the attorneys are from Wyoming.
The federal government has served a search warrant on a memory card, he added.
The minutes of the 12-minute status conference did not detail what is happening in other jurisdictions, nor did it reveal what was found on the memory card.
The federal government still seeks restitution, but no amounts have been suggested, according to the minutes.
Pico, Carman and defense attorney Thomas Fleener agreed to hold another telephone status conference on Sept. 6.
The case has drawn international attention and outrage. A California man even started his own Stop High on Life page on Facebook.
Besides posting their behavior at Yellowstone on social media sites, they have done so with them behaving unethically if not illegally at other places including the Bonneville Salt Flats and the Berlin Holocaust Memorial.
Their public Twitter site went dark after the Grand Prismatic Spring incident in May, and returned July 10 with more photos and stories from their travels.
They appear to remain defiant when on July 31 they quoted Ayn Rand: “’The question isn’t who is going to let me, but who is going to stop me.’”