Illegal outfitter guides convicted, banned from national forests

Hiking Related – Not Trail Specific

Moderator: HAZ - Moderators

Linked Guides none
Linked Areas none
User avatar
joebartels
Posts: 7020
Joined: Nov 20 1996 12:00 pm
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Illegal outfitter guides convicted, banned from national forests

Post by joebartels » Nov 20 2019 9:09 am

Coco the badass nino™ writes
USFS - Coconino National Forest wrote:SEDONA, Ariz., Nov. 20, 2019 — Several illegal outfitter guides in the Sedona area of the Red Rock Ranger District have recently been convicted, banned from national forests, and fined for illegally operating commercial businesses and offering paid tours without authorization or a special use permit.

Mark Truesdell, operating under the business name of Sacred Sites Journey; Georgina Rock of Air B&B Experience; and Kurt Raczynski of Inner Journeys, have all been sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation, including being banned for one year from the national forests of Coconino, Kaibab, Prescott, and Apache-Sitgreaves.

Additionally, each was ordered to pay restitution in amounts ranging from $220-$460, as well as a fine ranging from $500-$1,000. They were also ordered to remove any physical business advertisements and Internet advertisements of tours on the national forests within the state of Arizona.

These convictions were the result of effective undercover work performed by Forest Service law enforcement and investigation officers, who continually develop leads about illegal outfitter guides conducting operations on northern Arizona national forests.

Businesses and outfitter guides seeking to offer any commercial activities on national forest land are required by law to obtain a special use permit from the district within which the activity will be provided.

The Red Rock Ranger District currently has 42 permitted outfitter and guide companies which provide guided ATV, equestrian, hiking, hot-air balloon, Jeep, metaphysical, and mountain bike tours. Each of these businesses are partners with the Forest Service in protecting natural resources and are required to meet specific standards and follow specific rules of operating to ensure the beauty of the land remains for generations to come.

Permitted outfitter guides help with road maintenance, are co-stewards for heritage sites, and assist in reporting graffiti, resource damage, and wildfires.

The Red Rock Ranger District estimates that permitted outfitters and guides have grossed approximately $36.5 million in 2019, of which $1 million in fees goes toward district operations such as road and trail maintenance, supplies and tools, and employee salaries.

By ignoring federal regulations, illegal guides have a number of negative impacts, including:
developing and/or contributing to unplanned trails leading to sensitive areas;
causing and increasing resource damage to sensitive soils and animal/plant species;
exceeding road and trail capacity limits;
impeding on the experiences of responsibly-recreating public;
and avoiding Forest Service fees that fund resource stewardship.
Hike Arizona it ROCKS!

User avatar
Tough_Boots
Posts: 1756
Joined: Mar 28 2008 7:08 pm
City, State: Phoenix, AZ
Contact:

Re: Illegal outfitter guides convicted, banned from national forests

Post by Tough_Boots » Nov 30 2019 8:11 pm

Thoreau wrote:Go ask a licensed pilot if he/she can fly low over designated wilderness.
I will continue to refer to the Forest Service's resource page I linked to earlier which tells us it is 100% legal to fly a drone into a wilderness area if you operate/launch/land from outside the boundaries and keep it in the operator's line of sight as long as there is no active fire suppression or FAA imposed temporary flight restrictions.

In other words-- under normal conditions one can legally operate a drone from First Water Road into the Superstition Wilderness as far as they can see it. Or at least that's what the federal land managers of that wilderness area tell us.
"there is no love where there is no bramble."
--bill callahan

User avatar
wildwesthikes
Posts: 55
Joined: Nov 23 2010 9:41 am
City, State: Phoenix, AZ
Contact:

Re: Illegal outfitter guides convicted, banned from national forests

Post by wildwesthikes » Dec 03 2019 9:36 am

@Tough_Boots
At the very least, the 1st video I linked on my recent evidentiary post was most certainly launched within the wilderness. My issue with the regulations as posted is that there are so many sub-sites of these forest service portals that you can often find spots where they are self contradictory. But that is neither here nor there.

Signs at all the trailheads say "No drones".

So wait - if I am at the trailhead, in the parking lot, I am technically OUTSIDE the wilderness boundary, as this is a place cars park at. So therefore I can launch a drone at the trailhead, literally a couple feet from the wilderness boundary sign. Like, while I'm launching my drone I can be leaning against the big sign for Superstition Wilderness, and as long as I'm not past that I can go ahead and fly my drone over thew wilderness as long as I can see it? Is that for real?

How does this jive with the fact that no motorized anything are allowed in wilderness?

User avatar
chumley
Posts: 7042
Joined: Sep 18 2002 8:59 am
City, State: Tempe, AZ

Re: Illegal outfitter guides convicted, banned from national forests

Post by chumley » Dec 03 2019 10:14 am

Profound observer

User avatar
wildwesthikes
Posts: 55
Joined: Nov 23 2010 9:41 am
City, State: Phoenix, AZ
Contact:

Re: Illegal outfitter guides convicted, banned from national forests

Post by wildwesthikes » Dec 03 2019 10:24 am

@chumley
Good info - I was unaware of that discussion, thanks.

User avatar
Tough_Boots
Posts: 1756
Joined: Mar 28 2008 7:08 pm
City, State: Phoenix, AZ
Contact:

Re: Illegal outfitter guides convicted, banned from national forests

Post by Tough_Boots » Dec 03 2019 12:02 pm

@wildwesthikes
Yep, it's all confusing but in the end has to do with jurisdiction and the FAA has sole jurisdiction over airspace. I'm sure the forest service could lobby the FAA to change the regulations but there are multiple sets of regulations dependent on your UAS use so confusion may just escalate.
"there is no love where there is no bramble."
--bill callahan

Post Reply

Return to “General”


cron