Pilot Charged for Illegal Grand Teton National Park Landing Blames Bad Weather
By MEAD GRUVER Associated Press
A helicopter pilot faces up to $10,000 in fines and a year in jail for making an illegal landing in Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park.
The citations issued July 7 say Peter Smith landed June 23 on the western shore of Jackson Lake.
Park officials said Monday that rangers arrived by boat to find Smith and a female companion having a picnic.
Reached by phone, Smith tells The Associated Press there was no picnic — he hit bad weather while trying to cross the Teton Range and had to land.
Smith is charged with operating aircraft on lands/waters other than designated areas and failure to comply with Federal Aviation Administration regulations.
Both are misdemeanors.
His initial appearance -- when he formally hears the charges -- is scheduled for Aug. 15 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephanie Hambrick.