Filmmakers Charged After Walking on Yellowstone’s Grand Prismatic
A group of filmmakers is in hot water with the law and on social media after video surfaced, showing the four men walking off-trail in Yellowstone National Park, traipsing across Grand Prismatic Spring.
Photos and video were first posted to Buckrail.com, provided by an anonymous individual who also reportedly shared the images with Yellowstone National Park. The park said in a statement published on its Facebook page Wednesday that tips like this are “invaluable.”
“Information and tips provided by the public and media have been invaluable. We want to thank everyone for their passion and for helping protect geothermal resources in the park,” the statement from Yellowstone said.
Three of the four men have been charged with traveling off-trail and creating or maintaining a hazardous or physically offensive condition. Charges against the fourth man are pending.
“On Monday May 16th, we became aware of individuals who walked off trail at Grand Prismatic Spring. That same day, U.S. Park Rangers obtained arrest warrants for three of the four suspects who were walking off the boardwalks. Charges on a fourth individual are pending confirmation of his identity. Park scientists are assessing damages to Grand Prismatic Spring and adjoining geothermal resources as part of this ongoing investigation. Additional charges may be filed by U.S. Park Rangers,” according to the park.
The men have been identified as members of a filmmaking crew and clothing company High on Life SundayFundayz.
On Tuesday, an apology was posted on the company’s Facebook page.
“We got over zealous in our enthusiasm for this wonderful place. When standing at the face of such natural wonder, we were drawn to it. In an attempt to get the perfect shot, we acted in a way that doesn’t reflect our respect for the environment we were trying to capture. It was the wrong decision to make. We realize that now. For this we would like to sincerely apologize to the Yellowstone park community and the public,” the post states, in part.
That post has since been edited. At first, it asked people to share a memory of Yellowstone using the hashtag #DonationforYellowstone and said the company would donate $1 to Yellowstone (up to $5,000) each time someone did so. That drew angry comments from people, accusing the group of self-promotion.
That portion of the post now states:
"In a small gesture to try to show how incredibly apologetic we are, we will be donating $5,000 to Yellowstone National Park. We encourage you to share your favourite positive personal memory from Yellowstone National Park on the park’s Facebook page."
Negative comments from people outraged over their actions have been posted all over the High on Life SundayFundayz Facebook page.
Some people are also urging the company’s sponsors to drop them.
A petition on change.org asking the corporate sponsors to pull their funding has gathered over 3,000 signatures as of this writing.
Yellowstone National Park made national headlines this week also when a story broke that a newborn bison calf was euthanized after tourists put it in their vehicle because they were concerned for its wellbeing.