Illegal Backcountry Outfitter Sentenced For Operating Without A Special Use Permit On National Forest System Lands
DENVER – Chris Burandt of Kremmling, Colorado, was fined $1,000, assessed $5,000 in restitution and sentenced to 10 hours of community service as well as two years’ probation for operating an illegal snowmobile outfitting guide service since 2007 on multiple national forests in Colorado. Burandt plead guilty yesterday to selling or offering for sale any merchandise or conducting any kind of work activity or service unless authorized by Federal law, regulation, or special use authorization.
In January 2010, Burandt was issued a violation notice by the U.S. Forest Service for guiding a snowmobile trip. In February 2011 while guiding another snowmobile trip with paying clients, Burandt was contacted by U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officers. Subsequently, Burandt was charged by the U.S. Forest Service through the U.S. Attorney’s Office for conducting any kind of work activity or service unless authorized by Federal law, regulation, or special use authorization.
“The U.S. Forest Service works hard to protect our natural resources so that everyone is able to enjoy them,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “When someone makes a living using Forest Service land without the proper permit that person should know there are criminal consequences for that conduct.”
“Outfitter and guiding without a special use permit is a serious offense. Clients assume when they pay for a guiding service that outfitters are carrying insurance and operating legally. The U.S. Forest Service requires outfitters and guides to operate under a special permit so that the safety of visitors and the protection of national forest resources is ensured,” said Laura Mark, Special Agent in Charge for the Rocky Mountain Region of the U.S. Forest Service.
The U.S. Forest Service requires special use permits to conduct work, or commercial activities on national forest system lands. Outfitting and guiding operations such as snowmobile outfitting on national forest system lands is a competitive and profitable so the U.S. Forest Service strictly regulates operations to provide safe conditions for the public and to conserve natural resources. Permitted outfitters are authorized to conduct business in specific areas on national forests, operate with an approved business plan, and show proof of liability insurance.
This matter was investigated by the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region and prosecuted Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Heldmyer.