Unauthorized Yellowstone park guide sentenced for illegal activities

YELLOWSTONE, Wyo. — A 60-year-old Oklahoma man was sentenced on seven counts of illegal activities and violations in Yellowstone National Park, according to an announcement from Acting United States Attorney Bob Murray and Yellowstone National Park today.

Theodore Eugene Garland of Edmond, Oklahoma, offered guided tours of the park and documented his trips on social media, on a podcast, and in a guidebook. But those trips broke all sorts of rules. He was not authorized to provide guided tours of the park, according to a press release from Yellowstone. He also documented and promoted trespassing on thermal grounds, violating swimming closures and cliff jumping, creating “hot pots” in rivers, and disturbing wildlife.

Garland appeared in front of Magistrate Judge Mark L. Carman in Mammoth Hot Springs July 2 for the sentencing. He was charged with 15 counts of illegal activities and violating national park regulations, according to the release. After hearing the evidence at a bench trial held on April 7 and 8, Judge Carman found Garland guilty on seven counts.

At sentencing, the government requested that Garland be imprisoned for 30 days, served concurrently, on all counts; pay a fine of $750 for each count; make a Community Service Payment of $750 for each count; five years of unsupervised probation; and that he receive a ban from Yellowstone National Park for five years.

Judge Mark Carman sentenced Garland on the seven counts, resulting in a seven-day jail sentence; a total of $600 in fines and fees; a one-time payment of $500 to Yellowstone Forever Geological Resource Fund; and a ban from Yellowstone National Park until Dec. 31, 2021. He was also ordered to write an introduction/forward to his guidebook communicating respect for the park and removing references of illegal activity by July 16, 2021. Garland will serve five years of unsupervised probation and shall “not promote violations of laws in the national parks in any way.”

“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,” said Acting United States Attorney, Bob Murray. “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.”

This case was handled by the National Park Service and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie Hambrick.

About The Author

Buckrail @ Shannon

Shannon is a Wyoming-raised writer and reporter pursuing a master's in journalism at Boston University. Jackson shaped her into an outdoorswoman, but a love for language and the human condition compels her to write. She believes there's no story too small to tell nor adventure too small to take.

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