A local Sedona resident recently pled guilty to a criminal charge of conducting a commercial service on the Coconino National Forest without authorization and had to pay a fine and restitution.
Tim Angus, owner of Sedona ATV and Buggy Rental, pled guilty in May to a criminal charge of conducting a commercial service on the National Forest without authorization. Angus agreed to pay a fine of $1,500 and $500 in restitution.
These charges stemmed from an incident on January 25, 2014 when Forest Service law enforcement officers observed a group of Arizona State University students riding all-terrain vehicles on national forest land near Fay Canyon Trailhead.
Officers interviewed several of the 128 students who stated that they were on a tour with Sedona ATV and Buggy Rental, which does not have a permit authorizing the company to conduct tours on the national forest. This resulted in Angus being issued a violation notice and a mandatory appearance in federal court in Flagstaff.
“All commercial use of the national forest requires a special use authorization,” said Patrol Captain Jon Nelson. “More than 30 tour companies currently hold permits to conduct tours on the Coconino National Forest. Sedona ATV and Buggy Rental is not one of those.”
The Forest Service issues permits in compliance with the Forest Plan which has set capacities for commercial use of forest land near Sedona. Rental vehicles that are not providing a tour but are simply renting a vehicle off-forest do not require a special use permit for their customers to use national forest roads. In recent years an increase in the number of rental all-terrain vehicles has caused concern to some due to noise and serious injuries and accidents. A citizen task force to address these issues is currently being moderated by the City of Sedona. For more information on commercial use in the Red Rock Ranger District of the Coconino National Forest, contact 928-203-2900.