CHEYENNE, Wyo. – U.S. authorities say they will not try to force four men accused of walking onto a sensitive hot spring at Yellowstone National Park to return from their homes in Canada for prosecution.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says the men are charged with misdemeanours that don’t meet the legal standard to force their return to face prosecution.
The men were travelling in a recreational vehicle with British Columbia license plates and are believed to be back in Canada.
Powell says he hopes the four will voluntarily return so the matter can be resolved in court.
If they don’t, the four can either be arrested if they attempt to cross the U.S. border or denied entry.
The men, who run the channel High on Life, are accused of leaving an established boardwalk and stepping onto a geothermal feature on May 14.
The four travel vloggers – Charles Ryker Gamble, Alexey Andriyovych Lyakh, Justis Cooper Price-Brown, and Parker Heuser – were caught on camera on May 14 straying off the trail at the national park in Wyoming and walking onto the famous Grand Prismatic Spring.
It is strictly prohibited for tourists to leave the boardwalk surrounding the spring – a rule clearly marked by signs throughout the park.
Last Tuesday, an apology was posted to the High on Life Facebook fan page, noting that the group has since taken down its footage from beside the Grand Prismatic Spring.
“We did not respect the protected environment we were exploring, and we want to acknowledge our wrongdoing,” the post read.
“We got over zealous in our enthusiasm for this wonderful place. When standing at the face of such natural wonder, we were drawn to it. In an attempt to get the perfect shot, we acted in a way that doesn’t reflect our respect for the environment we were trying to capture. It was the wrong decision to make.”
Outrage over the group’s behaviour even sparked a Change.org petition calling on Bud Light and Red Bull to drop sponsorship for the YouTubers. The petition has received more than 21,000 signatures.
Global News reached out to both Bud Light and Red Bull for comment on the petition.
Bud Light said it does “not currently have a relationship with High on Life and we don’t have any future projects planned with them.”
Red Bull said it “does not have a formal relationship with this group and was not involved in this particular production.”
-With files from Nicole Bogart, Global News