Canadian filmmakers appear in court after destroying fragile landscape in Bonneville Salt Flats

Members of the Canadian group High on Life Sunday Fundayz are pulled behind a vehicle on the fragile surface of the Bonneville Salt Flats, date not specified | Photo courtesy of High on Life, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Two members of a Canadian filmmaking group pleaded guilty in court Tuesday to charges involving environmentally destructive violations in Yellowstone National Park and the federally managed Bonneville Salt Flats.

In this photo, Wendover Mayor Mike Crawford kneels down along the exposed mud track on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. Crawford, who owns an auto parts shop in town, said the decision by race organizers to cancel this year's event weeks away will be a bigger economic blow than last year, when a monsoon storm left standing water on the track on the eve of the race. Wet weather has forced the second-straight cancellation of an annual race at Utah's world-famous Bonneville Salt Flats, Wendover, Utah, July 21, 2015 | AP Photo by Rick Bowmer, St. George News
Wendover Mayor Mike Crawford kneels down along exposed mud tracks caused by a vehicle driving in wet conditions on the surface of the Bonneville Salt Flats, Wendover, Utah, July 21, 2015 | AP Photo by Rick Bowmer, St. George News

Members of the Canadian lifestyle company High on Life Sunday Fundayz, which produces films involving adventure travel and extreme sports while promoting a clothing line, appeared before US Magistrate Judge Mark Carman Tuesday at the Yellowstone Justice Center in Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming.

Ryker Gamble, Alexey Andriyovych Lyakh of Russia, Justis Cooper Price Brown, Parker Heuser and Hamish McNab Campbell Cross each received multiple citations for violations on public lands overseen by the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management.

Their charges included failure to obtain permits, foot travel in a thermal area, disorderly conduct and creating a hazard.

While Cross and Heuser both pleaded guilty to charges, the remaining three defendants pleaded not guilty and will be appointed court attorneys. Heuser agreed to pay fines related to Bonneville Salt Flats violations as part of his plea agreement. The Associated Press reported that Cross also agreed to pay more than $8,000 in fines and fees relating to the Yellowstone violations.

Cross and Heuser were ordered to be on probation for five years and will be banned from public lands managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Members of the Canadian group High on Life Sunday Fundayz are pulled behind a vehicle on the fragile surface of the Bonneville Salt Flats, date not specified | Photo courtesy of High on Life, St. George News
A member of the Canadian group High on Life Sunday Fundayz is pulled behind a vehicle on the fragile surface of the Bonneville Salt Flats, date not specified | Photo courtesy of High on Life, St. George News

The BLM began its investigation earlier this year when the group posted photos and videos to social media depicting the group committing the violations.

In one post, a man is seen walking on to delicate geothermal ground in Yellowstone National Park. In another video, three men are dragged behind a massive mobile home on water skis and snow boards in standing water on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, tearing into the delicate soil beneath.

The group also posted a video showing people swinging on the Corona Arch near Moab, Utah, an act previously banned by the BLM.

“This case serves as a good reminder that visitors should enjoy special places like the Bonneville Salt Flats and Corona Arch with respect for the natural resources, and other visitors, so that everyone can enjoy them, now and in the future,” BLM Utah State Director Ed Roberson said in a news release.

The group’s antics are not limited to the Utah area, and they were also investigated for destructive activities in Zion National Park, Death Valley National Park in California and Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado.

Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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3 Comments

  • mesaman November 5, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    They should be exiled to Great Slave Lake for 10 years to life and required to clean the shores of the lake weekly, July to September yearly while exiled or pardoned. Rotten little juvenile delinquents.

  • .... November 6, 2016 at 7:58 am

    Yeah just a couple of reallowlife dumbob’s out there. thinking they can do whatever they want

  • Don November 6, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    They are not American Citizens. Many countries would have given them jail time and heavy fines for defacing federal property. They will do it again because of the little slap on the hand they got. God help them if they do this stuff in the wrong country.

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