Three men who caused an Internet storm last weekend after documenting their illegal walk at Yellowstone National Park also face an investigation after an incident in Mesa Verde, according to court documents and a Mesa Verde spokeswoman.
On May 14, Charles Ryker Gamble, Alexey Andriyovych Lyakh and Justis Cooper Price-Brown, of Canada, allegedly ventured 25 yards off the boardwalk to take photos and videos at Yellowstone’s park’s prized thermal feature, Grand Prismatic Spring, according to a criminal complaint affidavit filed in U.S. District Court.
On April 2, the same three men came in contact with U.S. Park Ranger Mark Franklin at Mesa Verde National Park, the affidavit reveals.
The complaint offers no further details on the Mesa Verde incident, and Public Information Officer Cristy Brown declined to comment because the incident is considered an active investigation.
The affidavit regarding the Yellowstone incident alleges that the men created a “hazardous or physically offensive condition” by violating park rules.
The affidavit cites a federal law that prohibits foot travel off of boardwalks and marked trails within thermal areas at the park. Signs at the Grand Prismatic Spring trailhead and along the trail detail the hazards of off-trail travel in the area, the affidavit states.
A Yellowstone visitor provided park officials with photo and video footage of the men walking off the boardwalk and approaching the spring, according to the complaint.
The men are associated with a clothing company called High on Life, for which Gamble is chief management officer, the affidavit states. They operate a Facebook page for the company titled “Sunday fundayz.”
In a statement posted to the “Sunday fundayz” Facebook page on Tuesday, the group admitted leaving the Grand Prismatic Spring pathway and apologized for the incident.
“We got over zealous in our enthusiasm for this wonderful place,” the statement reads. “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.”
The apology post has since gone viral, with more than 4,300 Facebook comments and just under 600 shares.
Photos of the men off the trail in the park had been posted to the page on May 15, but were deleted, according to the complaint affidavit.
The group also posted a video to YouTube on May 16 that documented their off-path adventure, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports. That video has since been deleted, according to the Daily Chronicle.
The group plans to donate $5,000 to Yellowstone National Park as an apologetic gesture, according to the “Sunday fundayz” Facebook post.