Sedona AZ (April 9, 2014) – On October 25th, 2013, the Red Rock Ranger District was informed by representatives of the canyoneering community of an incident in a remote side canyon to Oak Creek. Investigators determined that a commercial business, Ropes That Rescue, conducted a week-long commercial outdoor training class September 21 – 27, 2013, which caused damage to the area.
An investigation determined that damage resulted from fires that were deliberately set as part of the training within the narrow canyon located in a part of the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness that is also within the Oak Creek Research Natural Area. The canyon is home to rare plant and wildlife species and a sensitive riparian community.
Investigators determined that Ropes That Rescue had conducted a week-long commercial training on the Forest, sponsored by owner Reed Thorne who was present at the training. Ropes That Rescue does not possess a permit to conduct business activities on the Red Rock Ranger District and was charged with operating a commercial business without a permit and causing associated resource damage. Through an agreement reached between the United States Attorney’s Office, the United States Forest Service, and the defendant and with approval of the US magistrate judge, Reed Thorne agreed to a fine of $500 and $5000 in restitution for damages to the area.
Questions can be directed to Jennifer Burns, Recreation Staff Officer for the Red Rock Ranger District, (928) 203-7529.
I think a $500 fine is too little for one who deliberately damages US Forest property and this organization knew exactly what they were doing. They have been around a long time. That fine was probably just part of the cost of doing the event.
Disgusting. Here you have a non-profit group that does not benefit at all from going into the forest service — except TO SAVE LIVES! They should be all patted on the back for a job well done and given grautuities – not FINES!~ I sincerely doubt that the forest was damaged beyond repair and/or damages that exceed $500 for clean up. What’s wrong with the forest service that they can’t even let plein air folk paint pictures. Something wrong, seriously wrong here.