A federal district court in Wyoming has sentenced a Utah man who allegedly held illegal dirt bike races within the boundaries of Grand Teton National Park to 18 months of unsupervised probation.
The man, Jacob “Jake” Hobbs, must also pay a hefty fine.
As first reported on Wednesday by Jackson Hole News and Guide, Hobbs allegedly held the illicit race for motorcycles inside the park on at least nine occasions. He now must pay $9,710.96, of which $3,690.86 is earmarked for “community restitution.”
Hobbs was brought to justice in part due to his habit of videotaping the events and then uploading the images to social media alongside the hashtag #boltsbyday11, which is a reference to a company he operates called Bolts Action LLC. According to The Cowboy State Daily, tipsters sent clips of the illegal races to investigators, who eventually used the images to track down Hobbs.
According to Jackson Hole News and Guide, the charges against Hobbs stem from a video taken on July 18, 2020. That evening, park authorities received a call from someone alleging to have seen the race. In the days after the event, photographers snapped images of the damage—dirt bikes had churned a winding dirt track in the grasslands that measured approximately 1,000 feet long and ten feet wide.
Later, video of the race appeared online, and investigators were able to see for themselves what had gone on. The video depicts dirt bikes driving south on Mormon Row, a one-acre site that preserves the history of Mormon immigrants who settled there a century ago. The site is popular for photographers, who flock to the site to snap images of the John Moulton barn with the towering peaks in the background.
Around 30 to 40 people are in the video, court documents say, with Hobbs in the middle of the course speaking into a handheld microphone attached to a bullhorn. Multiple photos and videos of the event show white track markers on the ground and people holding race flags.
The illicit caused concern for park authorities, as the fields at Mormon Row were undergoing a decade-long process to remove invasive plants and reseed the area with native plants. The area is an important habitat for elk, bison, moose, grouse, and other wildlife that is dependent on sage and grasses, officials said.
In court, Hobbs’ defense attorney said he believed Mormon Row was Bureau of Land Management property, and that no formal race was held by the group depicted in the video.
Alec Chapman, a supervisory park ranger at Grand Teton, told the newspaper that the race caused more than $3,600 in damages. Court documents show Chapman found evidence online that similar events had taken place in the park since 2011.
According to the park’s chief of staff, Jeremy Barnum, “the 2020 incident was the first about which we had specific knowledge and information.”
“It took some time for the National Park Service to investigate the tips and information provided by the public,” Barnum told the newspaper.