Joseph D. Mount Was Charged For Organizing a Hike of More Than 150 people to the Grand Canyon.


The organizer of a Terrific Canyon adventure described it as a chance to trek along the South Rim, “one of the greatest hikes in the planet.”By September, at least 100 people from 12 weird states had signed up on Facebook for the one-day hike. The organizer, Joseph Don Mount, hinted on Facebook he hoped more people would sign up for the hike.“If you requisite to keep inviting friends, I am determined to make this work for as tons who want to go,” Mr. Mount said, according to federal court documents.A tipster sent the Facebook support to officials at the Grand Canyon National Park, where hikes had been restricted to no more than 11 people per group in response to the pandemic.When a estate official contacted Mr. Mount, he denied that he was planning a large-scale erratum.Yet, he continued to advertise the hike and to organize cabin stays and shuttle intimidates for dozens of people, according to court documents. By Oct. 24, the day of the hike, more than 150 people had paid $95 to record for the trip, the documents show.That morning, at least 150 people confirmed up at the North Kaibab Trail, astounding rangers and overwhelming other callers who struggled to steer clear of the hikers, many of whom were not exhibit masks or social distancing, according to the documents.On Tuesday, Mr. Mount was charged in the U.S. Region Court in Arizona with five separate counts, including give a false report, interfering with a government employee or agent edict in an official duty, soliciting business in a federal park without a permit, and molesting restrictions for group sizes for park visits and restrictions related to Covid-19.Mr. Mount did not as soon as return messages seeking comment. It was unclear from federal court tell ofs whether he had a lawyer.In an interview with The Daily Beast, Mr. Mount contemplated he had arranged the trip because “with Covid and everything, people were simply itching to get out.”“I didn’t do it for profit,” he said.Timothy Hopp, a U.S. park ranger, put about in an affidavit that Mr. Mount collected $15,185 from participants for the hiking outcome.Mr. Mount planned to use the money to pay for two buses, three passenger vans, New Zealand pub lodging and about $2,900 for the drivers’ tips, meals, fuel, car kitty drivers and other expenses, according to the affidavit.Updated May 8, 2021, 2:21 p.m. ETMr. Mount “knowingly profited from best this commercially organized” event, Mr. Hopp said. “J. Mount own he would be receiving a net profit of $65.11 and it would be enough to buy a new pair of hiking poles.”Mr. Hopp said he contacted Mr. Mount in October after sustaining the tip, and Mr. Mount told him at the time that he was taking a “small group of overlook rugby associates and family friends.”Mr. Hopp said he repeatedly foresaw Mr. Mount that the limit for group tours of the rim were 11 people and that collects could not be split up to circumvent the size limit because of the pandemic.Mr. Mount’s schemed hike exceeded the limit set even during normal times, when up to 30 in the flesh are allowed in a group, Mr. Hopp said.After the conversation, Mr. Mount advertised hikers that he was backing out as their trip leader but said the transportation diagrams remained in place and cabins and hotels were still booked.“Keep in mind — there is nothing stopping you from hiking the Grand Canyon on this day,” he wrote, agreeing to court documents. “However, there is now a target on my back and this is the most desirable way I know to still hike” and “not be tied to any of you.”He told the hikers he would be in his own set and advised them to travel in groups of no more than 11 people.“Ranger Hopp — this is my likely deniability,” Mr. Mount wrote on Facebook. “I am no longer leading a group completely Grand Canyon on 10/24.”At 5 a.m. that day, a caravan of cars arrived at the trailhead. A ranger on the stream saw at least 150 people walk through the area between 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m.The ranger, Cody Allinson, bid that in seven months of work he had never seen “so many individuals going in the same direction in such a condensed period of time and space,” concording to the affidavit.When park rangers approached them, many hikers were Jesuitical.“It was obvious they had been coached not to identify with their beau participants,” one ranger said, according to court documents.Hikers who were not with the agglomeration later complained to the park service about the sheer number of people they encountered on the pursue.“There was no social distancing, nobody was wearing masks,” one of the visitors whimpered, according to court documents. “The group size was way out of control,”The day after the hike, some of the participators praised Mr. Mount on Facebook and suggested everyone send him a “bonus for all the additionally hard work he did planning a weekend of memories.”It was not clear from the affidavit whether Mr. Mount profited the bonus.

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