Washington man accused of lying about Grand Canyon group hike

Joseph Don Mount, of Chehalis, organized a trip in October with more than 150 people who hiked from the canyon’s North Rim to the more popular South Rim, according to a complaint filed this week in U.S. Magistrate Court in Flagstaff. He’s accused of several misdemeanors that each carry as much as six months in jail and possible $5,000 fines.

The complaint also alleges that Mount wasn’t authorized to provide commercial services. Park officials combed through Mount’s social media postings and discovered he was planning a large group hike and had charged fees for it, the complaint states. A special use permit is required for groups of 12-30 people in normal years. Larger groups aren’t allowed, even if they split up. The park has further restricted group sizes during the pandemic.

When park officials told him that wasn’t allowed, they say he denied planning the trip. Mount is scheduled for a court hearing later this month.

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