Thursday, August 05, 2021
83.0°F

Man who guided illegally in Yellowstone gets week in jail

by Associated Press
| July 20, 2021 10:55 AM

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — A judge has sentenced an Oklahoma man to a week in jail and ordered him to pay $1,100 for guiding visitors illegally in Yellowstone National Park.

Theodore Eugene Garland, 60 of Edmond, Oklahoma, led visitors who trespassed in thermal areas and elsewhere, cliff-jumped in an off-limits area and altered a river's flow by creating a pool for swimmers to soak in, U.S. prosecutors said in a statement Monday.

Magistrate Judge Mark L. Carman in Mammoth Hot Springs found Garland guilty of the violations in a non-jury trial in April and sentenced him July 2. Besides imposing the jail time and payments, the judge banned Garland from the park for the remainder of 2021.

Guiding in Yellowstone requires a permit. Garland had one but video he posted on Facebook of cliff-jumping in Firehole Canyon prompted a Yellowstone law enforcement ranger to investigate, according to court documents filed in the case.

An Apple podcast, Instagram photo and Facebook video revealed other possible violations such as creating a "hot pot" for swimmers at the base of Mystic Falls on the Little Firehole River, Ranger Devon Beeny said in the documents.

Prosecutors charged Garland with 15 counts of illegal activities and violating park regulations. Carman found Garland guilty of seven, acquitting him of others that included disturbing a black bear while it was feeding.

"I think the judge recognized Ted has done a lot to inspire people about Yellowstone, and lawfully, though he has done a few things he shouldn't have," Garland's attorney, Alex Freeburg, of Jackson, said Monday.

A guidebook written by Garland has done more to explicitly warn people about Yellowstone's thermal features than warning signs in the park, Freeburg added.