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Washington man pleads guilty to leading 139-person hike in Grand Canyon National Park without permit

A view into the Grand Canyon from the South Rim in Arizona.
Robyn Beck
AFP/Getty Images
A view into the Grand Canyon from the South Rim in Arizona.

A Washington man has pled guilty to guiding an illegal hike in Grand Canyon National Park.

Park officials say an investigation revealed that Joseph Don Mount violated group size limitations for rim-to-rim hikes in October of 2020.

He has been ordered to serve two years of supervised probation and is banned from all national parks, monuments, and federal lands within the state of Arizona.

Court documents show Mount organized a 139-person hiking group through the inner canyon without a permit. Prior to his trip, he was made aware that he would need a permit.

The case was prosecuted by the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona.

Park rangers say they’ve seen an increase in unprepared hikers. In 2021, Grand Canyon National Park responded to a total of 411 search and rescue incidents, breaking a 20-year record.