Make Sure Your Yellowstone Park Guide is Legit. This One Wasn’t
A guided tour of areas of Yellowstone National Park sounds pretty inviting to a lot of tourists.
Maybe you'll get a little closer to certain attractions. Maybe you'll enjoy the information the guide shares on the tour. Maybe your guide will be sentenced for guiding you illegally. Wait, what?
While likely a fairly isolated occurrence in Yellowstone, a man has been punished for his illegal guiding activities. Montana FWP tells us an Oklahoma man has been sentenced to a week in jail and ordered to pay $1,100 for guiding visitors illegally. 60-year-old Theodore Garland trespassed in thermal areas and elsewhere with some of his clients, cliff-jumped in an off-limits area and altered a river’s flow in 2020.
Mr. Garland did not exactly operate under a cloak of darkness. In fact his presentation seems pretty defiant. There's a social media page, a podcast and guidebook, all of which have pictures and posts about his guided tours, which violated closures and other park regulations and encouraged visitors to do the same. He offered unauthorized guided tours; trespassing on thermal grounds; violating swimming closures and cliff jumping; creating hot pots in rivers and disturbing wildlife.
We're not knocking attorneys, here. It's their job to put a positive spin on their clients' alleged misdeeds. Mr. Garland's lawyer said he recognizes his client did wrong but also "inspired people about Yellowstone National Park."
Alrighty, then. Check out what a U.S. attorney had to say about this method of "inspiration.":
“Enforcing federal criminal laws for the protection of our national parks’ resources will always remain a priority of the United States Attorney’s office in Wyoming. That is especially true when a criminal motivated by greed, like Mr. Garland, encourages others to commit more crimes and cause more damage to the treasures of America’s first national park.”
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