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Instagram golfer apologizes for teeing off in national parks

Instagram golfer apologizes for teeing off in national parks

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Comedian Jake Adams, who set a goal of hitting a golf ball in 50 states over 30 days, apologized in an Instagram post on Friday for teeing off in national parks.

“I, uh, just never realized the magnitude of hitting, uh, a golf ball in any of our national parks,” he said in the post.

Since the offenses occurred in more than one park — including Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore and Grand Canyon national parks — several law enforcement officers are investigating, said Cynthia Hernandez, a Washington, D.C., public affairs specialist for the Park Service, in an email.

“Visitors who violate park rules and regulations are subject to fines and/or imprisonment,” Hernandez added.

On April 26 in Yellowstone, Adams filmed himself driving a golf ball off a boardwalk near a hot pool, over a river and from an overlook of the travertine terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs. The videos were posted to his Instagram account, jakemadams3.

Boardwalk shot

These screen grabs show comedian Jake Adams teeing off in three different locations in Yellowstone National Park. The post has been removed.

“I thought I took all the right precautions in using a biodegradable golf ball,” he said. “And it was never my intent to disrupt, um, you know, the environment, or, um anybody’s day. You know?"

Other unusual shots Adams made during his 30-day tour included putting across an Ohio basketball court, aiming a shot toward the Iowa state capitol building and using what looks like a beer bottle as a tee in Birmingham, Alabama. He also stopped in Billings on Day 25 and hit a drive off the top of the Rimrocks with two guests.

A condensed compilation of the trip and his golf Instagram feed now skip from Day 23 in Minnesota to Day 29 in Alaska, removing the illegal shots made in Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore.

Mammoth Hot Springs

These screen grabs show comedian Jake Adams teeing off in three different locations in Yellowstone National Park.

“So please, uh, if I can do anything on this platform, uh, I just encourage everybody to not do what I did,” Adams said. “And, uh, do not hit any golf balls — biodegradable or not — it does not matter, in our national parks.”

“National parks are some of the most special, treasured, and protected areas of our country,” Hernandez wrote. “In order to preserve these natural and cultural resources for this and future generations, all visitors to national parks are expected to follow park laws and regulations and practice leave no trace principles to minimize their impact on park lands. This includes packing out everything you’ve packed into the park and leaving nothing behind. Leaving objects behind detracts from the experience of other park visitors and could negatively impact plants, animals, and even entire ecosystems.”

Yellowstone golf shots

These screen grabs show comedian Jake Adams teeing off in three different locations in Yellowstone National Park.

The message must have been communicated to Adams, because he said, “I now realize, uh, the importance of what footprint you’re leaving, you know, on our Earth, and especially in our national parks. Please share this with your friends, uh, your family, your moms, whoever. Just, uh, please do not do what I did, and do not hit golf balls in our national parks.”

Adams’ 50 state trip started in Hollywood where he said he didn’t know why he was undertaking the adventure. After hitting a drive toward the iconic Hollywood sign he closed the post by saying, “It seems like it’s probably going to be a poor life choice.” His trip ended in Hawaii.

In his posted apology, Adams went on to tease that he has “cool other journeys” planned. He ended by reiterating, “Please, uh, do not, again, hit any golf balls in our national parks.” The post had almost 5,000 views by Monday. Earlier posts totaled as many as 10,000 views.

Other online personalities have faced federal charges after posting videos in which they violated park regulations. In 2016, four travel bloggers were sentenced to jail and fined after they recorded their walk onto the thermal area around Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone. Visitors are required to remain on boardwalks for their own safety and to protect delicate thermal features.

Despite the possibility of facing federal charges, Adams called the trip “one of the most fulfilling, exciting 30 days” of his life.

Hernandez stressed, “Hundreds of millions of people visit national parks every year. All visitors are asked to be examples for other visitors by following park rules and regulations to preserve the park experience for future visitors.”

Yellowstone Bear Management Biologist Kerry Gunther and Park Ranger John Kerr describe some best practices for handling these potentially dangerous situations.

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