A Yellowstone National Park law enforcement ranger has thrown the book at a blogger, guide and social media personality for alleged offenses ranging from disturbing a black bear to guiding without a license.
The accused is seasonal West Yellowstone, Montana, resident Theodore “Teddy” Garland, author of the “Explore Yellowstone Like a Local” guidebook.
Reached Friday, Garland told the Jackson Hole Daily that every last one of the 17 charges against him is “absolutely” baseless.
“I’m just not going to roll over and take it,” Garland said. “My goal of this whole thing is to get my guide permit back.”
Garland hired Jackson attorney Alex Freeburg to argue his case. To cover legal fees, a “Save Explore Yellowstone Like a Local” GoFundMe page has sprouted. As of Friday afternoon, the online fundraiser had generated $265 toward a goal of $10,000.
The complaint, filed Aug. 17 in the U.S. District Court of Wyoming, shows that most evidence supporting the charges was self-incriminating, with the alleged offenses posted about on Facebook or mentioned in a podcast. Other counts detailed in the criminal complaint spearheaded by the investigation of law enforcement officer Devon Beeny include illegal cliff jumping, traveling off boardwalks and trails in geothermal areas, and moving rocks at Mystic Falls to create an illegal “hot pot.”
Garland characterized the law enforcement investigation as sloppy. The June 15 video that led to a charge about disturbing a Lamar Valley black bear, for example, was taken by his wife, he said, who was clustered with 100 other people at a bear jam.
“I never even got out of the car,” he said. “And I’m looking at six months in jail and a $10,000 fine because of that. It’s insanity.”
The charge for cliff jumping was related to a video a follower posted to Explore Yellowstone Like a Local’s public Facebook page. Garland said it was shot and posted while he was in Cancun at a wedding.
Yellowstone’s public affairs office declined to provide information about the case until it was adjudicated. K2 Radio out of Casper first reported on the charges.