A former Washington state well being care govt is going through federal prices for allegedly main a largely mask-less, 153-person hike throughout the Grand Canyon — in violation of group dimension limits.
Joseph Don Mount, 34, of Chehalis, lied to Nationwide Park Service officers when planning the October 2020 trek from the North Rim to the South Rim, the Each day Beast reported.
He was charged Tuesday with 5 misdemeanor counts.
Mount, who previously labored because the chief operations officer at Steck Medical Group, urged individuals to convey walkie-talkies so they might keep away from being detected, a Park Ranger stated in an affidavit hooked up to Tuesday’s criticism.
The hikes have reportedly been restricted to teams of 30 or fewer since 2014 and have been additional restricted amid the pandemic to only 11 individuals. Park rangers caught wind of Mount’s plans a month earlier when somebody despatched screenshots from a Fb group exhibiting he was charging $95 per individual.
The submit claimed 112 hikers from 12 states had signed up and Mount — a former Eagle Scout — later allegedly informed one social gathering in one other Fb submit to be ready to take “precautions” to not draw consideration throughout the tour.
Mount had contacted Park Service officers to get a required allow, however was informed a number of instances in regards to the group dimension restrict. Nonetheless, he was undeterred and saved planning and recruiting hikers for his “rim-to-rim” occasion, based on the criticism.
Reached for remark Wednesday, Mount stated he was unaware of the costs.
“I had no thought about this,” Mount informed the Each day Beast, claiming any hike he took with the group of greater than 10 occurred outdoors Grand Canyon Nationwide Park.
“With COVID and all the pieces, individuals have been simply itching to get out,” Mount continued. “I didn’t do it for revenue. Folks had already purchased airplane tickets and made plans. I’d say a few third to half have been single mother and father, and had organized youngster care.”
However regardless of the warning that his hike would violate the park’s rules, the Oct. 24 journey allegedly went off as deliberate and disturbed different hikers and park rangers.
“Keep in mind, there may be nothing stopping you from climbing the Grand Canyon on this present day,” Mount wrote to the Fb group, based on the affidavit.
One park customer, in the meantime, reported seeing a “BIG group of hikers,” based on the Washington Put up.
“There was no social distancing, no person was carrying masks, the group dimension was manner uncontrolled,” the male hiker stated within the affidavit.
Mount is now not employed at Steck Medical Group, the Each day Beast reported. His LinkedIn profile reveals he labored as its chief operations officer till April. He’s due in court docket later this month.
With Put up wires