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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Utah

Friday, August 24, 2018

Andersen Pleads Guilty To Defacing Corona Arch; Agrees To Pay Fine And Restitution To BLM

SALT LAKE CITY – Ryan Bird Andersen, age 45, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, pleaded guilty to a one-count misdemeanor information Thursday charging him with defacing a natural feature – the Corona Arch – by scratching graffiti into the rock.  U.S. Magistrate Judge Dustin Pead presided at the hearing in U.S. District Court.

As a part of the plea agreement, Andersen agreed to pay the maximum fine of $1,000, full restitution of $858.32 to the Bureau of Land Management, and a processing fee of $30.  Andersen also agreed to release a statement advocating the responsible use of public lands as a part of the plea agreement. (A copy of the statement is attached to this release.)

“Mr. Andersen’s conduct was troubling to us and anyone who values Utah’s beautiful public lands. People travel from around the world to visit these spectacular resources. Mr. Andersen learned a valuable lesson from this prosecution.  As he writes in his statement, we hope others can learn from his mistakes and always act responsibly with our natural treasures,” U.S Attorney John W. Huber said today.

Andersen’s guilty plea will be held in abeyance for a period of 18 months. During that period, the defendant is prohibited from entering or using any public land administered by the BLM, the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the Army Corps of Engineers.  The defendant can use public roads traversing public lands for necessary travel. 

August 23, 2018

Dear Friends and Concerned Citizens,

I want you all to know that I have reached an agreement with the government to account for my actions last spring at the Corona Arch in southern Utah.  With that agreement I have accepted responsibility for my conduct and have agreed to pay a fine and full restitution to address the damage caused to the arch. 

Although I have resolved my case with the government, I will remain committed to helping ensure that our public lands remain pristine.  In the future, I hope that others can learn from my mistakes and always act responsibly with our natural treasures.


Ryan Andersen

Updated August 24, 2018