ARIZONA NEWS

Man pleads guilty to leading an illegal packrafting trip in Grand Canyon National Park

Jul 14, 2023, 4:00 PM | Updated: Jul 15, 2023, 8:43 am

(Flickr Photo/Grand Canyon NPS)...

(Flickr Photo/Grand Canyon NPS)

(Flickr Photo/Grand Canyon NPS)

PHOENIX — A man has pleaded guilty to leading an illegal packrafting trip in Grand Canyon National Park, authorities said Friday.

Samuel H. Edwards entered a guilty plea on misdemeanor charges after he led the trip without a permit and entered a restricted area, according to the National Park Service.

It wasn’t Edwards’ first conviction for conducting an illegal trip. He previously pleaded guilty to the same charges.

Edwards was ordered to pay a $2,500 fine and will be on probation for two years. He will be banned from all national parks, national monuments and federal recreation areas during that time.

A backcountry permit with the specific River Assisted Backcountry Travel (RABT) designation is required in order to lead a packrafting trip, according to the Grand Canyon Superintendent’s Compendium.

NPS says unpermitted packrafting trips are dangerous because the park has no knowledge of their whereabouts if something goes wrong.

In 2022, there were 338 search and rescue incidents and 11 fatalities in Grand Canyon National Park.

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Man pleads guilty to leading an illegal packrafting trip in Grand Canyon National Park