It appears there is something in the water at Yellowstone National Park, as not one, but two mind-boggling decisions were made there this week that really make it hard for us to have faith in the future of mankind. Earlier this week, a bison calf had to be euthanized after it’s herd refused to accept it back due to the acts of some tourists who put the calf in their car and brought it to a Ranger Station because they thought it was cold. Yes, you read that right.
If you thought that was the dumbest things that tourists did in Yellowstone this week, the clothing/filmmaking guys from High On Life might change your mind.
On the afternoon of May 14, 2016, visitors to the nation’s first National Park were enjoying the view of the Grand Prismatic Spring from the boardwalk and marked trails that surround this beautiful natural wonder. The calm and peaceful setting was shattered when four men were suddenly seen walking across the incredibly sensitive terrain. To visitors, it was easy to see what their self-serving agenda was, as three of the men were followed closely by a fourth man holding a Glidecam, used for stable video capture. It was obvious these guys weren’t amateurs.
As it turns out, the team is from a Canadian clothing called High On Life. The team consists of Alexey Lyakh, Ryker Gamble, Justis Cooper and Parker Heuser. According to their website, they have known each other since middle school and spent their younger days idolizing videos from the Jackass crew. They even went to far as to make their own videos called “Dumbass” and sell them to kids at their high school.
With a pretty large following on Instagram of almost one million people, these guys have obviously traveled the world and created some great content. You would think with all that travel, they would have learned to show respect for the places they visit, especially ones as sensitive as the Grand Prismatic Spring. But quite the opposite. The team went onto the land knowing it was dangerous, fragile and illegal. There are posted signs everywhere, and on the YouTube video that they posted from the adventure (which has since been removed) you can see the men actually filming the sign telling them not to leave the Boardwalk.
Well, they left the boardwalk, even as people standing by shouted at them not too. Check out the video and photos below, which were captured by concerned visitors and promptly turned over to the Park Service.
But at least they got photos for the social media likes (which have also been deleted).
Obviously, once the culprits were identified, the Internet was relentless. Hundreds of comments flooded the group’s social media accounts, and none of them were supportive. Many people have been writing the team’s sponsors voicing their displeasure at the brand ambassadors’ actions.
*Update – We reached out to Red Bull for a comment, and they were kind enough to give us a statement. “Red Bull does not have a formal relationship with this group and were not involved in this particular production.
*Update – We reached out to Contiki and they were kind enough to give us a statement. “Contiki is committed to responsible travel and had no involvement in the recent High on Life Road Trip in Yellowstone. Although we have worked with High on Life in the past, our last partnership was over two years ago. We don’t have any future projects planned with them, and the page referencing our brand and logo has been taken down.”
So, you would think that with all of the negative attention, the team surely realized their mistakes and would bend over backwards to make it right. Well, not quite. On the “apology” posted on their Facebook account, the team claims “We wandered off the laid out path and took photos of the Grand Prismatic Springs, unaware of the ecological ramifications and safety precautions.” Already, this apology is infuriating, as per the YouTube screenshot above, the men saw every sign making them aware of the ecological ramifications and safety precautions. Ok, but we will give them a chance to prove that they care for the places they visit. Surely they will do anything, and work as hard as they have to in order to make this right.
For the next two days, every time someone shares their favorite positive personal memory from Yellowstone National Park on the park’s Facebook page with the hashtag#DonationforYellowstone, we will donate a dollar per personal story post, up to five thousand donation.
Oh. So, wait. In order to make up for your brazen, idiotic and disrespectful act, 5,000 hard working Americans need to take time out of their busy day and write a story on Yellowstone’s Facebook page? For just $1 each? This reminds me that time 50 Cent used African children for extortion. The team from High on Life has obviously already earmarked $5,000 to donate, so why make the very people you disrespected do all of the work? Wouldn’t it make more sense to just donate the money right now? And honestly, 5,000 people writing their favorite stories in 48 hours? No matter how viral this story goes, we all know that isn’t happening. You know, because most people work more than one job to make ends meet, have children to take care of, bills to pay, rush-hour traffic to sit in. Not everyone has time to drive around the world in a big blue bus. Which, by the way, doesn’t look cheap…which makes their offer of $5,000 (for our hard work) even more insulting.
*Update High on Life has changed the Facebook post from offering to donate $1 for every story told to “We will be donating”. Per the below screenshot, you can see the original quote referenced above.
So it appears this story is far from over. Let us know your thoughts. Should the boys be forgiven? Should they just pony up the donation and not make people work for it? Should they be banned from entering the US for committing a crime on federal land?
*Update – Three of the four individuals have been charged with crimes and warrants have been issued for their arrests. The crimes include “creating a hazardous or physically offensive condition” according to K2Radio.com. Strangely, the fourth member has not been charged as of yet.
*Update – Fox 13 in Salt Lake City has posted some incriminating photos of the High On Life team waterskiing behind their massive RV at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Per the screenshot of the rules of the Bonneville Salt Flats, all visitors must stay off of the Salt Flats when wet.