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Grand Prismatic

Three Canadian men are facing charges for walking on geothermal features at Yellowstone National Park and posting the photos on Facebook.

Three men charged with walking on the Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park in May pleaded guilty Thursday to the charges against them. 

Canadians Charles Ryker Gamble, Alexey Andriyovych Lyakh and Justis Cooper Price Brown will all have to pay restitution and are banned from public lands in the United States for the five years they are on probation.

Gamble and Lyakh will have to serve seven days in jail as part of their sentence.

The men appeared Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Carman at the Yellowstone Justice Center in Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyo.

Gamble and Lyakh both pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct by creating a hazardous condition and foot travel in a thermal area, as well as two charges of commercial photography without a permit, two charges of using a drone in a closed area and riding a bike in wilderness.

Their crimes occurred in the Yellowstone, Zion, Death Valley and Mesa Verde national parks.

In addition to their probation and jail time, the two men will both have to pay $2,000 in fines, restitution and community service payments to Yellowstone Forever.

Both must remove the photos and videos of public lands from their social media profiles.

Brown pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct by creating a hazardous condition and foot traffic in a thermal area. He must pay $3,500 in fines restitution and community service payments to Yellowstone Forever.

Gamble's attorney, Alex Rate, said his client and friends had been threatened and shamed on social media for what amounted to making bad decisions on a road trip. Their aim was to inspire people to explore the parks, and any money they made from the videos they posted was minuscule, Rate said.

"These young men have been through the wringer when it comes to public shaming," Rate said. "They understand the impact of their decisions and take responsibility for it."

Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk said in a statement that the penalties handed down Thursday "send a strong and poignant message about thermal feature protection and safety."

In November, a fourth member of the group, Hamish Cross, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct by creating a hazardous condition and foot travel in a thermal area.

Cross was ordered to pay more than $8,000 in fines, restitution, community service payments and fees, according to a news release from Yellowstone National Park. He will be on probation for five years and will also be banned from public lands managed by the U.S. Government for the duration of his probation. 

Cross has a New Zealand passport, the complaint against him stated. 

On May 16 someone reported to Yellowstone National Park rangers that they had seen the men walking on the thermal feature, according to the news release. Through videos posted on the group High on Life's social media accounts, rangers identified the individuals involved. 

In June, a man died at the Norris Geyser Basin after he walked off the designated boardwalk, slipped and fell into a hot spring, according to the news release. 

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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